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Coronavirus Updates (Alcohol & Entertainment)

Last updated on 15 June 2021

Contact Licensing

To contact Licensing via the phone while our office is closed, please call 01744 676770.

Alternatively, you can contact us via email: general licensing email.

Please be aware the phones will be busy and we would advise you to email us. Please note that we aim to answer your email on the same working day or the next available working day.

Operational Hours

Please be aware of a change to our current working arrangements and due to the high levels of COVID-19 across the country. As of Monday 18 January, we no longer have any of the small resource we currently have, working from Wesley House. This should not affect you too much; however if you post any documents to us then it is likely to be some days before they are collected as we intend to only have this collected once or twice a week.

For any applications you should continue to use the online application facility that is available on our website or alternatively scan any applications to our email.

If you need to contact us, the fastest way to do this is via the general licensing email. This is monitored constantly during working hours.  Our telephone calls are still being dealt with by the contact centre, but you are more likely to experience a delay if you use this method.

Don't forget to let us know about any problems you may be experiencing and we'll do our best to help.

Latest Updates and Information

28 July 2021: Reminder for businesses to check water systems to prevent risk of legionella

We are advising businesses to make sure they check their water supplies and water management processes due to an increased risk of legionella bacteria being present, as a result of water systems not being used while premises have been closed during the recent lockdown.

Employers, the self-employed and people in control of premises, such as landlords, have a duty to protect people by identifying and controlling risks associated with legionella.

If your building was closed or has had reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risk of Legionnaires' disease.

Legionnaires’ disease is a lung infection, caused by inhaling small droplets of water, suspended in the air, which contain Legionella bacteria. It’s uncommon but can cause serious illness which can usually be treated with antibiotics, but because symptoms are similar to those for Covid-19 people may not realise they have been infected. Symptoms of Legionnaires' disease include a high temperature or fever, a cough, along with muscle pains, a headache and sometimes pneumonia. People who are feeling unwell with similar unexplained symptoms should ring NHS111.

As more and more businesses have recently reopened and people are returning back into office spaces, we are reminding you of the need to make sure your water system has been reviewed to ensure it is safe for your employees and customers.

You should review your risk assessment and manage the legionella risks when you:

If the water system is still used regularly, maintain the appropriate measures to prevent legionella growth.

All water systems need to be considered. This includes water systems at shops, hairdressers, offices, hotels, gyms, sports clubs, golf clubs, hotels, pubs, clubs, restaurants, voluntary-run premises and anywhere that has a water supply and was recently closed.

Anyone who manages or own buildings must follow the latest advice from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and the Health and Safety Executive to help minimise the risk from legionella.

You should implement a suitable weekly flushing regime using fresh mains water as follows:

  • Flush through simple hot and cold water systems with fresh mains water for several minutes.
  • Increase the temperature of hot water systems to above 60°C if possible and drawing it through to all hot water outlets (a temperature over 60°C will kill legionella bacteria over time)
  • If you have a business in which showers are in use, you should also clean the shower head regularly. This doesn’t just mean the parts you can see, you should dismantle the shower head and clean it both inside and out with a recognised product to help combat any scale, debris or bacteria.
  • Flush through larger hot and cold water systems (including those with tanks, showers, calorifiers) for a significant period of time
  • Ensure that the system is capable of delivering water at safe temperatures by checking temperatures ahead of reopening
  • Undertake a chemical or thermal disinfection of the water system or microbiological sampling for legionella bacteria if required.

If the building has been unused for a long period of time, there have been any lapses in flushing regimes or where additional risks have been identified, professional cleaning and disinfection may also need be undertaken.

Further details on Legionnaires' disease, the type of workplaces which may be at most risk and details of how to carry out risk assessments can be found on the Health and Safety Executive website or from the Chartered Institute.

You can also contact your local environmental health officers at environmentalhealth@sthelens.gov.uk

Here is a free-to-access recording of a recent webinar organised by the Legionella Control Association.

23 July 2021: Latest Guidance

Please see the latest government guidance.

27 May 2021

Hospitality at outdoor food and drink festivals

The government has been asked us to share clarification on the position of single-day outdoor food and drink festivals that are planned during step three of the roadmap. As the requirement to provide hospitality through table service would render many of these events unviable, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has agreed a written clarification with the Cabinet Office, DHSC and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) explaining ways in which these events could go ahead. The clarification is that:

The individual vendors would be considered the restricted business, rather than the festival site as a whole. Therefore the vendors may either:

  • sell takeaways that can be consumed elsewhere on the festival site (including alcohol if no seating is provided adjacent to the vendor);
  • if serving alcohol for consumption on seating adjacent to the vendor, provide table service; or
  • If not serving alcohol, try to enforce that customers remain seated whilst consuming the food and drink they serve.

The festival may wish to provide seating for customers to consume the takeaways they purchase from the vendors. However, seating that is adjacent to a vendor is to be treated as part of the vendors premises for the purposes of the Steps Regulations and therefore the table service for vendors who sell alcohol/enforcing seating requirements would apply (Sch. 3, para 7(3)). ‘Adjacent’ is not defined within the Steps Regulations but the seating would have to be sufficiently far enough away from a particular vendor for it not to be adjacent to the vendor and therefore customers would be able to sit there to consume takeaways without the table service/enforcing seating requirements.

In practical terms we suspect this could be a challenge for festivals as seating may be sufficiently far enough away from one vendor to not be considered adjacent to that vendor but may at the same time be adjacent to another. It might be difficult to find a practical workaround for this but we would need to stress to festivals that any seating provided must be removed from the vendors to enable takeaways to be consumed there, otherwise the table service/enforcing seating requirements will apply.

'Outdoors' definition

A place is classified as being indoors if it is enclosed, or substantially enclosed, for the purposes of section 2 of the Health Act 2006, under the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006. To be considered ‘outdoors’, shelters, marquees and other structures can have a roof but need to have at least 50% of the area of their walls open at all times while in use.

Indoor payment

Venues serving alcohol should take payment at the table or another outdoor location. If it is not possible to take payment outdoors, for example because of a technical issue, venues can take payment indoors as a last resort.

Face coverings

At Step 2, staff and customers of venues that provide food and drink are expected to wear a face covering when indoors, including when entering the venue to use the toilet or make payment, and must keep it on until they leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it. Staff and customers may also choose to wear a face covering outdoors at the venue, but it is not mandatory.

Social distancing rules

It is a legal requirement for hospitality venues to configure outdoor tables to maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m+ with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) between groups of customers. Venues are advised that they should enable people in the same party who do not live together to remain a safe distance apart.

Test and trace (advice that can be provided to hospitality venues)

If you are a hospitality venue, you must ask for contact details from anyone who hasn't scanned the official NHS QR code and you must refuse entry to any customer or visitor who chooses to neither provide their contact details nor scan the official NHS QR code. You should satisfy yourselves that individuals who are checking in using the official NHS QR code have done so - you may do this by asking the individual if they have scanned the code or ask to view the person's screen to show the venue check in screen if you still have reason to believe they haven’t done so.


A premises can provide entertainment such as music or a TV, but must ensure that this does not cause customers to stand up unnecessarily or to shout, sing and dance. You should also ensure that no activities that take place in any outdoor areas do not cause any unnecessary noise nuisances to any local residents.

Update on Government road map of easing lockdown restrictions

Stage three

No earlier than 17 May:

  • People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors.
  • Six people or two households can meet indoors.
  • Up to 30 people can meet to celebrate weddings or other life events, like christenings.
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas, can open.
  • Indoor entertainment such as museums, cinemas and children's play areas can open.
  • Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen to household groups.
  • Performances and large events can resume, with some limits on capacity.
  • International travel will resume no earlier than 17 May.
  • Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can start up again.

Stage four

No earlier than 21 June:

  • All legal limits on social contact removed.
  • No legal limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and other life events.
  • Nightclubs and theatres allowed to reopen.

Four conditions must be met at each stage before proceeding to the next one:

  • The vaccine programme continues to go to plan.
  • Vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment.
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions.
  • New coronavirus variants do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions.

You can read the full roadmap at gov.uk/coronavirus.

Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes or takeaways.

Deliveries and Collections

Please note that deliveries of food and drink, including alcohol from your premises direct to customers following an order made by telephone or the internet, are permitted in line with any conditions and timings on your licence. For any collections from a premises, including click and collect services, this CANNOT include any alcohol and can only be done up until 11pm. Also a customer CANNOT be allowed to enter a premises in order to collect their order.

If you wish to contact us regarding a delivery service or discuss the requirements for a delivery service please contact us by email.

General Advice for Securing your Premises

St Helens Borough Council understands that should your premises have to close due to this current lockdown, it is important that it be secured sufficiently. Please see below our general advice on how best to secure your premises during this difficult time:

  • Remove any stock or items of value from the premises or secure them in a safe area.
  • Ensure any alarm systems are checked and are working correctly.
  • Ensure CCTV is working and that it is timed and dated correctly - consider using a mobile phone app.
  • Consider timer switches or ensure that the premise are sufficiently well lit.
  • Make sure all shutters, doors and windows are secured.
  • Display signage that the premises has been secured and that no cash or any items of value have been left on site and that the premises CCTV remains operational.
  • Check your current insurance cover. 

Coronavirus Signage and Information Posters

As your business prepares to re-open, below are some posters you can print off and use to help you maintain social distancing in your premises.

Below you can find information posters written in different languages so people who don't speak English as their first language can keep up to date with the latest coronavirus information. The posters are available in the following languages: Urdu, Tamil, Kurdish Sorani, Arabic, Farsi.

Please display these posters in a prominent place in your premises.

Hospitality Industry Action Pack

Purple Flag/ATCM will soon be announcing a new partnership and member benefit with the Shield Safety Group and they are currently offering a free action pack to the hospitality industry and key partners (you don't have to be a member to access the information).

Click here to view the COVID-360 Action Pack

What does the pack contain?

  • Shutdown Checklist - If you need to close your business, make sure you do it in a safe and robust manner.
  • Convert to Takeaway - Keep trading and fighting for revenue by diversifying your services.
  • Re-Opening Guide - Get prepared to start trading again as quickly and safely as possible.

Useful Links

St Helens Borough Council - COVID Myth Busters

St Helens Borough Council - Business Grants

St Helens Borough Council - Coronavirus Latest Updates and Information

St Helens Borough Council - Information on Benefits, Money and Council Tax

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

New Style Employment and Support Allowance

COVID-19 Guidance for Hospitality Businesses (UK Hospitality)

Coronavirus Support for Businesses From Outside Government

Thousands of Business Advisers to Offer Free Services to Small Firms

Financial Support for Businesses During COVID-19 

COVID-19 Guidance for Employers, Employees and the Self-Employed (For Pubs, Bars and Takeaways)

COVID-19 Business Support

Reopening Checklist for Food Businesses During COVID-19

Help and Support if Your Business is Affected by Coronavirus