New later closing time planned for terrace bars in Zurich and Lucerne
City councils in Zurich and Lucerne have announced that they will be trialling a later closing time for the outdoor terraces of bars and restaurants. The “Mediterranean Nights project” is an attempt by Swiss cities to help businesses that have suffered financially due to COVID restrictions.
Late closing of outdoor bars to be trialled in Lucerne and Zurich
According to The Local, Zurich’s project will begin in the spring and will allow bars and restaurants to open their terraces until 2am, as opposed to the current curfew of midnight. The project will take place on six weekends in the spring and summer when the weather allows for more outdoor dining.
Lucerne has also announced a similar project which will see the later curfew time made semi-permanent in some areas. Both plans have been designed to help hospitality establishments recoup some of the losses they incurred due to COVID restrictions that kept them closed.
Locals worried about excess noise in cities
The current plans were inspired by a similar project in St. Gallen, which saw terraces open late in the autumn of 2021. City councillor for Lucerne, Fabian Reinhard, told ZentralPlus, “It is important that the city of Lucerne tries out what works and what doesn’t.”
Later closing times for bars and restaurants is a contentious subject in Switzerland. Already, the plans in Zurich have been taken to court by neighbourhood communities, who are concerned about the noise a rowdy terrace would create, especially at 2am. They compromised by restricting the programme to six weekends a year.
Lucerne is also hesitant to make the change permanent, with Reinhard saying that all factors were still on the table. Right now, he emphasised that the priority was to find out whether the noise pollution and disturbances were worth the economic benefit.