Since the start of the school year, concern has grown behind the counters of bars in Lyon. At aperitif time and the last rays of the sun, the subject mobilizes part of the conversations. Tray in hand, the waiters hand out leaflets with the words “Terraces in danger” in big letters. “The city’s plan will be to close our terraces at 10:30 p.m. so as not to disturb the residents too much,” blurts out one of them, before addressing a couple of regulars: “Have you heard about the investigation? »
The curious listen, fascinated. Others respond with a volley, indignant. “Yes, I started to answer, but I didn’t finish because I found the questions very biased,” says one client. Sometimes none of the offered answer options worked for me. “I wondered where they came from,” flourishes an equally surprised second. A feeling shared by the subject. “The questions are extremely partisan. They encourage us to go in the direction of the town hall,” is indignant Geoffrey Clavel, chairman of the cafés and brasseries of the Rhône.
This summer, the city of Lyon launched a consultation on “the place of terraces in the city” to adapt the rules regarding them by 2023 and to “guarantee a harmonious and balanced integration” in the public space. The question of opening hours is already up for debate. Should we reduce them or keep them as they are? “I don’t want them to close at 10:30 p.m. In the summer it’s really nice to be out late at night. They are an integral part of cozy places”, supports a customer sitting with his glass of beer.
“There was never any question of closing the terraces at 10:30 p.m.”
“However, there was never any question of closing the terraces at 10.30 p.m. This rumor has been circulating for a year. I don’t know where it comes from, but it is not our project”, Valentin Lungenstrass, deputy of the city of Lyon, in charge of public spaces and commercial businesses in the public domain, wants to clarify. “We regularly receive complaints from residents on this or that terrace. We have difficulty measuring reality. This questionnaire will give a clearer and more homogeneous picture of the whole city”, continues the young man.
Not enough to calm the subject, however. Their fear: that, after all, dissatisfied residents are given too much importance. “Some have got used to more calm during the Covid-19 period. They want it to last forever, but we still don’t want to give them the match point,” Geoffrey Clavel is carried away. And to insist: “We have been in pain for two years, in survival mode. We are drowning in debt, we have taken out loans that we are struggling to repay, we have received almost no government aid, contrary to what was advertised. This is not the moment. If we advocate living well together, we are no longer living. »
120% more bankruptcies
According to the profession, bankruptcies have increased by 120% this year compared to 2021. “90% of the terraces in Lyon are well maintained. We will not question anything for 4 or 5 companies that are dysfunctional, emphasizes Geoffroy Clavel. What we are asking the town hall for is to support its merchants. »
“Lyon loves its terraces, there was never any question of removing them,” replies Valentin Lungenstrass again. On the contrary, our goal is to promote these spaces as a place of coziness while paying attention to the use of the public space and the tranquility. The elected representative also states that he is in favor of creating an additional option that gives bar owners the opportunity to have a terrace all year round in certain parking lots and no longer from May to the end of September, as is currently the case. As for the new rules, they should be in place by the fall of 2023.