Eateries can now lease sidewalks

Restaurants can apply to lease sidewalk space from the City and the City is offering to fast-track applications.

The initiative is one of several the City says it has in the pipeline to boost the Cape Town’s Covid-ravaged economy.

“Early in the new year, I will be making announcements regarding our plans to stimulate the informal economy, as well as kicking off a study on how to build 24-hour economic activities and other CBD revival measures,” said James Vos, mayoral committee member for economic growth.

As part of the initiative, the restaurants can expand their businesses onto the leased pavements, for a reduced rate, for the first six months.

At this stage, the City’s core focus for economic recovery will be in the CBD but other areas can also apply, it’s website said.

The initiative is currently only open to eateries because it applies to tables and chairs on the pavement. A separate process will also have to be run if establishments want to serve alcohol, as this requires an extension of the liquor licence.

According to the City’s website, there will be a rental holiday of three months for successful applicants and the rental for the remainder of the financial year will be reduced by 50% from R80 a square metre to R40 a square metre.

Existing lessees are encouraged to be in touch via for more information around rental remissions.

Mr Vos said the City hoped that this would encourage residents to enjoy outdoor activities, which has been shown to decrease the risk of Covid-19 infections.

“Covid-19 forced us to think out of the box and look at new innovative ways of doing things. We need to look at exciting initiatives and partnerships that does not need a lot of investment and assist restaurants in dealing with social distancing. Getting our economy back and in better shape is a collective responsibility. We will also launch other exciting initiatives aimed at the informal economy in due course,” Mr Vos said.

According to the Cape Town Central City Improvement District’s annual report, the CBD is 1.6 square kilometres and at the end of 2019, the CBD housed just over 3 300 businesses of which 151 are restaurants. The Economic Growth Directorate’s initiative aligns with the mayor’s recent closing of streets for open air dining and events.

To find out more about this initiative and to put in an application, establishments visit