COVID-19: Business Information - Licensing and Enforcement
Due to the ongoing situation the Licensing service is unable to see the public face to face in the office. If you have any queries or concerns relating to Licensing matters, need to report a premises for non-compliance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the duty line during office hours 9am - 4pm on 020 8489 8232.
- New enforcement powers
- Businesses and premises to remain closed
- Work carried out in people’s homes
- Takeaway and delivery facilities should remain open and operational
- Who will enforce the regulations?
- Offences and penalties
- Government advice and support
- Local advice
- Frequently asked questions
- Supermarkets and shops able to remain open
- Further information
The Government has issued new enforcement powers to enable local authorities, supported by the police, to take action to deal with non-compliance with directions to close. Other powers are may become available to deal with other unacceptable trading practices. Licensed premises who are found to be operating illegally may also be subject to review of their licence.
As the current situation with the Covid-19 outbreak continues to develop, the council is constantly keeping the matter under review, following government advice and looking at its own business continuity arrangements to ensure we can continue to deliver the services.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020 includes a list of premises and other venues which must close as they involve prolonged close social contact, which increases the chances of infection spreading - see link below:
Providers of funeral services such as funeral directors and funeral homes conducting funerals may remain open, subject to Public Health England guidelines as mentioned in the table above.
Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms.
Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a 2 metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.
No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.
No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
This means people can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers.
Businesses are encouraged to take orders online or by telephone, and businesses should not provide seating areas, indoors and outdoors, for customers to consume food and drink on. Ordering in advance is strongly encouraged to avoid waiting in, as per Public Health England guidelines.
Planning regulation has been changed to enable restaurants, cafés and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so. Planning regulation has been changed to enable restaurants, cafés and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so. The legislation can be accessed online here (external link).
People must not consume food or drinks on site at restaurants, cafés or pubs whilst waiting for takeaway food.
Those venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages in this list if their licence does not already permit.
Designated council officers and all police officers will enforce the regulations.
It is a criminal offence for any person, without reasonable excuse, not to comply with the mandatory closures.
Penalty for not complying with the regulations is an unlimited fine.
Government is to put in place measures to support businesses affected by the virus. There are grants and loans available as part of this package. Please follow developments on the government website as ways to access grants and loans will be found here (external link).
Questions about your licence can be directed to email@example.com
The government recently announced emergency plans to relax planning laws to allow bars, restaurants and other leisure venues to start food deliveries.
- Relaxation of planning measures will be introduced as soon as possible and will apply for a limited period
- The measures will apply to hot food and drinks.
- Serving of alcoholic drinks will continue to be subject to existing licensing laws.
We are still waiting for more information from the government, but based on what we know from the announcement:
- The delivery of food is not licensable under the Licensing Act 2003. It is therefore open to businesses to start food delivery services immediately from a licensing perspective.
- However, note that hot food and beverage delivered between 23:00 and 05:00 will require a Late Night Refreshment Licence.
- Alcohol deliveries cannot be included in your food deliveries unless:
- you have an off sales licence for alcohol
- payment for alcohol deliveries is taken where you hold the licence and is taken during your licensing times.
- You must ensure you have adequate age verification procedures in place for deliveries that include alcohol.
If you need to postpone your event due to the Covid-19 outbreak, you need to check your licence very carefully. Most premises licenses will be issued in perpetuity and can therefore be used at any time in the future. Some premises licences however may be time limited. If your premises licence is time limited, it cannot be relied on for different dates.
You can check if your premises licence is time limited. On the front page of your licence please refer to the section that read “Where the licence is time limited the dates”.
Finally, if you submitted a Temporary Events Notice for your event, you cannot transfer this to different dates. You will need to submit a new Temporary Events Notice.
Measures to be put in place for retail and public premises which we expect to remain open must:
- Ensure a distance of two metres meters between customers and shop assistants; and
- Let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not crowded.
- Queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that remain open.
Find more information about business and other venues subject to social distancing measures on the Gov.UK website (external link)