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Have restaurants spread out too far into public spaces?

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Some Mérida restaurants have placed tables where the general public used to roam. Santa Lucia park is a prime example. Photo: La Recova

Mérida, Yucatán —  Dining under the stars is one of life’s great pleasures. So is a sidewalk stroll, or a walk in the park. Somehow, these pleasures have collided. Literally.

City regulators are discussing modifications to urban regulations that could affect restaurants that have spilled out into parks and sidewalks.

Víctor Merari Sánchez Roca, president of the Tourism Commission of Mérida, said that the issue under consideration is defined spaces for pedestrians and park visitors.

Merchants, mainly restaurateurs, have taken café seating too far, invading public spaces like sidewalks and parks or squares, Sánchez Roca said.

At Parque Santa Lucia and Paseo de Montejo, for example, no specific delimitation separates a pedestrian zone from where tables and chairs customers can occupy. So those spaces have tended to blur in the last couple of years.

At Santa Lucia, he said, private enterprise blocks entrance points for visitors who want to attend public events.

Sánchez Roca says he wants to contain business into established zones so there is no confusion over what space is designated for which purpose.

Restaurant owners have even petitioned to remove the pedestals with busts of composers because it holds back their capacity, the city official said.

Source: Reporteros Hoy

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