City government gives Old Town businesses 80 percent rental relief

A bottle of hand sanitizer on a table at Raekoja plats in Tallinn's Old Town in May.
A bottle of hand sanitizer on a table at Raekoja plats in Tallinn's Old Town in May. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Tallinn City Government is to install rental relief of 80 percent to bars, restaurants and cafes in Tallinn's Old Town in an effort to buoy a tourism sector ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. The reduced rents should be passed on the lower prices, attracting domestic visitors to venues in normal times frequented more by foreign tourists, the city government says.

Deputy Mayor Aivar Riisalu (Center) made the announcement at a city government press conference Wednesday, adding that it is focused on the Old Town as the prime tourist district, but more broadly applies to central Tallinn as a whole.

Catering and entertainment establishments will get an 80 percent discount on rents, in an area with generally the highest rents in the country, from this month.

Outdoor terraces can be set up free-of-charge, though these tend to start to be dismantled from September onwards as temperatures drop.

The city government says the rent reduction should be passed on to menu prices, attracting more local custom in turn.

At the same time, restrictions installed by the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) mean alcohol sales must stop at 11 p.m., in a move aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

With the lifting of the strictest restrictions in May, Old Town eateries and bars lowered their prices to almost unheard-of levels, with a half-liter of beer costing less than five euros in some cases (compared with as much as €8 for a half-liter in some outlets in pre-COVID-19 days), again to attract domestic visitors and as the warm weather approached.

Old Town business rental prices can range from anything from around €8 per square meter, to €30 per square meter, according to real estate portal data.

Tallinn mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) unveiled plans to partly install remote learning in the city's schools, at the same press conference.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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