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Reopening of Licensed Premises - Important Information

Last updated on 16 July 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.

Re-Opening your Licensed Premises - Important Information

The government recently announced that premises such as pubs, clubs and restaurants were permitted to open from 4 July 2020, 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 do not permit any live performances of music.
  • Premises should ensure that steps are taken 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 'Track & 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 2 metres and, if not viable, 1 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.

For more advice, please contact us via email.

Entertainment in Your Premises

A number of licensed premises have been making enquiries about what entertainment that are permitted to provide under the current restrictions.

The government guidance is that:

'Venues should not permit any live performances, including drama, comedy and music, to take place in front of a live audience. Venues should not permit indoor performances, including drama, comedy and music, to take place in front of a live audience. This is important to mitigate the risks of droplets and aerosol transmission - from either the performer(s) or their audience'.

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.

Coronavirus Signage

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.

Test and Trace

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

The guidance states that the following information should be recorded:

  • Collecting the names, and phone numbers of all staff working at the premises, as well as the date and time they worked.
  • Making a record of the name and contact phone number of any customers or visitors, or if it is a group of people, the name of the lead member of the group, who is able to contact other members of the group, and the number of people in the group.
  • Recording the date, arrival and departure time of all visitors or visiting groups.
  • Storing the information for 21 days, after which should be safely deleted.

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

Register your Business for the 'Eat Out to Help Out' Scheme

You can register for the 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme from 13 July 2020 and you can use it to offer a discount to diners and encourage them to eat at your restaurant.

You can use the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme:

  • All day, every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 31 August 2020.
  • To offer a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, to diners for food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in.
  • To claim the money back from the Government.

There is no limit to the number of times customers can use the offer during the period of the scheme. Your customers cannot get a discount for someone who is not eating or drinking.

Alcohol and service charges are excluded from the offer.

Registration to the 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme will close on 31 August.

For more information about the 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme, please click here.

'Eat Out to Help Out' promotional materials

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 I provide any live entertainment from my premises?

A: No, this is specifically prohibited.

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