Crackdown looms for illegal cafe seating

Municipal crews are this week to start removing dozens of tables and chairs that have been illegally set up outside cafes and restaurants in central Athens and beyond, Deputy Mayor Tassos Avrantinis, said on Wednesday.

Avrantinis, who heads up the municipal police force, said that teams of officers were soon to begin visiting all cafes and restaurants that have chairs and tables set up on the sidewalks outside and checking their operating licenses.

?This week we will start collecting table and chairs,? Avrantinis said. ?We will be merciless in punishing businesses that are illegally occupying public areas,? he said.

The deputy mayor also called for legislative reform to ensure that operating licenses issued to businesses are permits for 3 to 4 years, not one-year permits. Avrantinis blamed the liberal issuance of one-year permits for ?perpetuating the current state of lawlessness.?

The deputy mayor is also planning to oversee a crackdown on widespread illegal parking in the city center ? another scourge for city-dwellers.

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