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Licensed Premises - Important Information (COVID-19)

Last updated on 21 September 2020

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.

Updated Government Guidance - Meeting With Others Safely and Social Distancing

Following the recent announcement on further restrictions, you are advised that from Tuesday 22 September premises must:

  • Only sell food and drink for consumption on the premises if it is served to customers sitting at a table. This includes customers using external areas. There must be no service at the bar.
  • Close to the public no later that 10 pm. This does not mean that last orders is to be called at 10 pm it means that the premises must be closed and cleared of all customers no later than 10 pm.
  • Only provide any food and drink deliveries from the premises when an order has been made either online or over the phone. This includes take-aways. The premises must be closed to the public no later than 10 pm.

We have published a new guidance document for businesses which gives information about COVID-19.

Since 14 September 2020 it is illegal for groups of more than six people to meet and socialise. You must not provide seating facilities that allow for more than six people in a group and must not take any bookings for groups of more than six people.

Your premises must continue to provide a COVID-19-secure environment and implement its COVID-19 risk assessment.

The below links have been recently published by the government and provide important information on the new rules that came into force on 14 September 2020 in respect of group gatherings:

Does this mean that no more than six people can be in a pub or restaurant at once?

Venues following COVID-19-secure guidelines can host more than six people in total, but no-one should visit in a group of greater than six. When you visit one of these places, such as a pub, shop, leisure venue, restaurant or place of worship, you should:

  • Follow the limits on the number of other people you should meet with as a group (it will be illegal to be in group of more than six from outside of your household).
  • Avoid social interaction with anyone outside the group you are with, even if you see other people you know.
  • Provide your contact details to the organiser so that you can be contacted if needed by the NHS Test and Trace programme.

What does this mean for you and your business?

  • You should not permit groups of more than six to sit together.
  • You should not provide seating facilities for more than six people in one group.
  • You should ensure that your seating arrangements allow for sufficient distancing between tables i.e. two metres apart or one metre + with mitigation such as providing screens.
  • You should not take any booking for a single group of more than six people.
  • You should make every effort to discourage customers from different groups from interacting closely with each other.

Can I go to a pub or restaurant with people I don't live with?

When eating or drinking out with people you do not live with (and who are not in your support bubble), you should keep to the wider rules on group sizes: you must only attend these places in groups of up to six people.

You can attend in larger numbers with the people you live with/who are in your support bubble. This rule became the law from 14 September.

In all cases, people from different households should ensure they socially distance as much as possible. You should think about where to sit at a table with this in mind – the premises should also take reasonable steps to help you do so in line with COVID-19 Secure guidelines.

It remains the case that you do not need to maintain social distancing with those in your support bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers.

Re-Opening your Licensed Premises - Important Information

Premises such as pubs, clubs and restaurants are permitted to open but only if they are safe and ready to do so.

The key points from the government guidance to consider when re-opening your premises are:

  • Premises to undertake a risk assessment that addresses COVID-19.
  • Premises should take steps to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. This could include the playing of music and any TV broadcasts.
  • Premises provide clear guidance and signage (see below) on the need for social distancing and hygiene.
  • All indoor customers are to be seated.
  • Manage customer movements within premises such as queue management and one-way flow.
  • Encourage contactless payments where this is possible.
  • Prevent customers from remaining at bars or service areas.
  • The need for 'test and trace' of customers - customer contact details to be taken and retained by the premises in a way that is manageable for your business.
  • Maintain a social distance of two metres and, if not viable, one metre plus with risk mitigation.
  • Calculate the maximum capacity of your premises and reconfigure space accounting for pinch points and busy areas.

Indoor sports such as snooker, pool and darts are permissible but should be covered in your current risk assessments.

This risk assessment must remain suitable and sufficient and provide adequate control to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

If you make available snooker, pool or darts facilities you are advised to:

  • Record the details of those participating and the table(s) that they are sat.
  • Make customers provide their own equipment such as cue's and darts.
  • Factor in regular cleaning of the surfaces of the facilities i.e. the snooker or pool tables.
  • Discourage other customers from standing and watching.

Finally please remember that social distancing must be observed and no facilities must be provided that might encourage any customers to raise their voices.

Current social distancing measures must remain in place and all customers must remain seated. Safe capacity levels must be strictly controlled.

For more advice, please contact us via email.

Risk Assessments 

As part of your preparations to re-open your premises as mentioned above, you must produce a risk assessment that addresses the ongoing risk of COVID-19 to both your staff and customers. You should also consider the security implications of any decisions and control measures you intend to put in place.

Matters and actions for you to consider would be documented within your risk assessment but we would also be looking at further information from you on your plans for the following:

  • How you will control the numbers of persons allowed onto your premises.
  • How any queues would be managed.
  • How alcohol orders would be taken.
  • How you will deal with drunkenness and any potential underage sales of alcohol.
  • What are your intended staffing levels, this to include bar staff, front of house staff and security staff.

Failure to complete a risk assessment that addresses the ongoing risk of COVID-19, or completing a risk assessment but failing to put in place sufficient measures to manage the risk of COVID-19, could constitute a breach of health and safety law.

Following the recent government announcement, indoor entertainment is permitted within licensed premises but if you wish to provide this you must factor this into your COVID-19 risk assessment and identify any necessary control measures.

Coronavirus Signage & 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.

Test and Trace

Guidance has been published for how pubs can keep a secure, short-term record of staff and visitors when they re-open.

The guidance states that the following information should be recorded:

  • Record the names and contact details of all staff members and the details of the shifts they've worked.
  • Record the name and contact number of visitors or if in a group the lead member of the group.
  • Record where the person or group are seated. We would always advise numbering your tables.
  • Record the time of arrival and if, possible, the time of departure.
  • Store this information securely for 21 days and then delete or destroy.

The details that customers give to you must be stored securely and handled in line with GDPR regulations.

Below are links to a number of free Test and Trace downloads:

It is important that you not only record the necessary details but that you retain them securely. They should not be left in a public place for visitors to complete if there are other people's contact details on show.

It is recommended that:

  • Details are taken on an individual basis and not as a running list of multiple names and contact details on the same sheet.
  • If you print out the document, make sure it is dated and provide this to visitors or staff to complete.
  • Once completed place the individual information in an envelope or a wallet for safe keeping.
  • Collate the details at the end of that days trading and store these securely for at least 21 days.
  • After 21 days destroy the details.

From 18 September 2020 premises will be required by law to record the contact details of their customers for Test and Trace purposes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do customers need to be seated whilst inside my premises?

A: Yes.

QDo we need to provide a table service?

A: Yes.

Q: How many customers can I allow into my premises?

A: This will depend on the size of your premises and must be risk assessed. You must allow for 2 metre social distancing or 1 metre plus with risk mitigation such as having chairs back-to-back as opposed to side-to-side.

Q: Can I trade within my normal authorised hours?

A: Yes, although you should consider staggering your opening hours in order to reduce any high demand during peak hours such as late at night and early into the morning.

Q: Can we provide live entertainment?

A: Yes, but any entertainment that is provided should not encourage any customers to shout, sing, chant or to dance.

QCan people book parties, baby shower's etc in my pub or club.

A: Only if an individual group of no more than 30 persons attend from no more than 2 households (this includes support bubbles). 

Useful Links

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 

Re-Opening of Restaurants, Pubs and Bars Guidance (Charles Russell Speechlys)

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

Calculating Premises Capacity

COVID-19 Business Support

Reopening Checklist for Food Businesses During COVID-19

Help and Support if Your Business is Affected by Coronavirus

Guidance for Managing Playgrounds and Outdoor Gyms