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.
- The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy - information for businesses
- Guidance for those carrying out beauty treatments
- Guidelines for pubs, bars and restaurants
- Work carried out in people’s homes
- Takeaway and delivery facilities should remain open and operational
- Who will enforce the regulations?
- Offences and penalties
- Common complaints about businesses operating during COVID-19
- Government advice and support
- Legionella control when reopening your business premises
- Local advice
- Frequently asked questions
- Further information
The government has set out its COVID-19 recovery plan which aims to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect the NHS. Restrictions have now further eased and this means many more businesses can now reopen.
From 13 July onwards:
- Nail bars,salons and beauty salons
- Tanning booths and salons
- Massage parlours
- Tattoo parlours
- Body and skin piercing services
From 25 July onwards (subject to assessment of the evidence at the time regarding the rates of transmission):
- Indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios
- Indoor swimming pools
- Indoor water parks
- Restaurants, Cafes and Pubs
- Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts
- Museums and Galleries
- Hairdressers and Barbers
- Children’s playgrounds
- Libraries, community centres, bingo halls
- Funfairs and theme parks, zoos, amusement arcades, outdoor skating rinks, social clubs and model villages
- Places of Worship
If your business can now reopen, you can only do so if you are following the Government’s Working Safely guidelines (external link). Please take the time to read the relevant guidance for your business.
Beauty treatments can restart from Monday 13 July. Please make sure you have read the guidance on close contact working and you are able to take all the precautions necessary to be COVID-19 secure before you open.
Only services that do not involve work in the highest risk zone - directly in front of the face - should be made available to clients. This means that treatments such as face waxing, eyelash treatments, microblading, make-up application and facial treatments, should not be provided until government advice changes, due to the much greater risk of transmission.
The guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services has been updated government guidance for pubs reopening from 4 July clearly states that businesses must carry out a detailed risk assessment before putting coronavirus prevention control measures in place and opening to staff and public.
- Restaurants, pubs and cafes in England will be allowed to reopen, providing they follow safety guidelines (PDF - external link)
- All hospitality indoors will be table service only, and contact between staff and customers will be limited
- Customers will also have to give contact details when they enter a pub or restaurant – this information must be kept for 21 days
You can read the key guidance you need to reopen your business on 4 July on the dedicated Reopening your business page.
Before opening pubs, bars and restaurants must carry out a risk assessment. The government has created an online risk assessment tool (external link) to help.
- Risk assessments need to be carried out for the venue and any attached offices
- The risk assessment should help operators decide if they have identified sensible measures to control risk in the workplace
- As a result of doing the risk assessments it may change or alter how you have previously done something or identify additional measures that will be required
- Pubs/bars/restaurants with five or less workers or self-employed operators do not need to write down their risk assessments
- Staff will need to be briefed and consulted on health and safety and should be asked about their perceived risks
- Appoint a health and safety representative for the workplace
- Consider any security implications for your venue also
Your business must be COVID-19 Secure. COVID-19 Secure means you have taken every reasonable step to ensure the safety of your premises, your employees, your customers and the community. By using the government guidance, the links to complete a risk assessments you can achieve COVID-19 Secure status, sign the COVID-19 Secure notice and re-open with confidence.
It is good practice to display this poster in your window so that customers know that you have done a risk assessment. You can print this off and complete the section at the bottom. The council’s enforcement officers are visiting businesses, so it is a good idea to have a risk assessment to hand upon request.
It is still recommended to keep a 2 metre distance wherever is possible however, a new “1-metre-plus” approach has been introduced. This means that members of the public can be 1 metre away from each other as long as other measures are put in place to limit the transmission of the virus.
Businesses are being asked to help by:
- Avoiding face-to-face seating by changing office layouts, and ensuring people face away from each other in all environments
- Reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces
- Improving ventilation
- Using protective screens and face coverings
- Closing non-essential social spaces
- Providing hand sanitiser
- Changing shift patterns so that staff work in set teams
The government has published guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic (external link). There are 12 sets of guidance available. Businesses may need to use more than one of these guides to help keep employees and the public safe.
If your business can reopen from 4 July, please take the time to read the relevant guidance for your business.
- Hairdressers and Barbers (external link)
- Pubs, restaurants, cafes and takeaways (external link)
- Hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions (external link)
A business or venue operating in contravention of the law will be committing an offence. Businesses and venues that breach the law will be subject to prohibition notices and fixed penalty notices. Businesses that continue to contravene the law will be forced to close down.
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.
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).
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.
We are seeing a rise in complaints about certain businesses since the introduction of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (external link).
We need to make the following clear:
To clarify the government has not banned car washes from opening. They are allowed to operate provided they implement social distancing in accordance with Public Health England social distancing guidance (external link).
This guidance is intended to make businesses work more consciously while the current social distancing measures are in place to slow the spread of the virus.
You should only leave the house for very limited purposes:
- Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
- One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household
- Any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- Travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home
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).
Maintaining and re-opening your business premises
Important guidance to minimise the risk of Legionnaires’ disease (also known as Legionella) after reopening your business premises is now available.
Ensure your water systems are safe when your business reopens. The guidance below is for individuals responsible for managing hot and cold water systems:
- LGA guidance for members on reopening (PDF, 435KB)
- Legionella control - detailed guidance for businesses (PDF, 76KB)
- PHE - Important information on guaranteeing safe water supply (PDF, 546KB)
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 licences 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.
Find more information about business and other venues subject to social distancing measures on the GOV.UK website (external link)
Page last updated:
Tell us what you think about the website
We are currently running a short survey about our Covid-19 response and information. You can take the Covid-19 survey here.
Contact us about our services
Please note if you have a service problem or complaint you need help with then please visit our contact pages.
Give us feedback about this page
Please use this space to tell us how we can improve the website.
Overall, how easy was it to get the help you wanted today?
* = response required