Restaurants, bars and cafes on Raekoja plats (Town Hall Square) in the heart of Tallinn's Old Town, normally busy with customers even outside tourist season, have had to cut prices by as much as 50 percent to attract business, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic effects. At the same time, rent reductions are the only measure keeping some businesses afloat, and some have closed.
Tallinn City Government has reduced rents for restaurants and bars operating in Town Hall Square, which restauranteurs say has been, along with a state program for wage support, essential to surviving the upcoming summer.
Several venues have already closed their doors as a result of the pandemic and its economic effects, including wine bar Paar Veini and restaurant Art Priori.
ERR's online news in Estonia reports prices for a half-liter of beer on one of the outdoor terraces many bars, cafes and restaurants rent in the square, some of which are already open, is just under €5.50. A cup of coffee will cost around €3.50.
At the same time, many tourist-oriented businesses have reduced their prices, it is reported, either in general or for local customers as well as Finnish citizens and residents. Some eateries have set up customer registration programs, accompanied by discounts.
Rae restaurant is among these; registered customers can get a half-liter of beer for €3.90, two euros less than the peak winter price, and even lower than peak summertime prices.
This price-cutting practice becomes less common the further you move away from Town Hall Square.
Restaurant owners say the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) also actively monitors compliance with the 2 + 2 rule (maximum two people congregating in public, families excepted, minimum two meters' distance from other members of the public) on terrace area, which will be fully opened from the beginning of May. This means that eateries will often keep at least one empty table between occupied tables where possible.
Some restaurateurs have also provided disinfectant hand sanitizers outside as well as inside.
Troika, a Raekoja Plats offering Russian cuisine, has a 50 percent-discounted menu, while the Beer House on Dunkri, just off Raekoja plats, promises a 25 percent discount on the menu and a 40 percent discount when ordering food home.
Many outlets in Raekoja plats do not or cannot offer home delivery, via apps such as Bolt or Wolt, however, mainly because traffic restrictions make reaching the premises by car difficult.
Editor: Andrew Whyte