Licensing Hub – Legal with Poppleston Allen

Tips on operating during the pandemic

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Pandemic pub operation: here are some tips to help you run your business following the introduction of coronavirus legislation
Pandemic pub operation: here are some tips to help you run your business following the introduction of coronavirus legislation

Related tags Coronavirus

In light of the coronavirus legislation now in force, here are some tips to help you navigate through these challenging times.

Although pubs, bars and restaurants must remain closed they are permitted to provide takeaway and delivery services.

Planning rules have been relaxed to pubs and restaurants to act as takeaways but licensing permissions have not been changed (at the time of writing), therefore, for those seeking to operate a takeaway or home delivery service, the following licensing considerations are relevant:

  • Check your premises licence permissions and conditions and whether they restrict operating takeaway or home deliveries
  • On a related property law point, check there is nothing in your lease or restrictive covenants that prevent such business activity
  • Selling alcohol for takeaway or home delivery? Check you have the required permission for ‘off-sales’ on your licence. If so, ensure you have systems in place in order to continue to age verify customers when selling alcohol, both at the point of order and upon delivery/collection
  • Providing hot food or drink between the hours of 11pm and 5am will require authorisation for late-night refreshment under your licence (not applicable to hot drinks from coin or card-operated vending machines).
  • Consider measures to protect staff and customers – can orders be taken online or via telephone, or orders left on doorsteps if prepaid? Provide staff/delivery drivers with gloves, hand sanitiser, etc
  • If you remain open as an essential or exempt operation, you must ensure there is a distance of two metres between each customer and member of staff, let people enter the premises only in small numbers and queue control is required outside premises
  • Consumption of food and drink is not permitted within the premises and no seating areas for consumption, indoors or outdoors, should be provided. Use sealed containers for drinks taken off the premises and note that along with external areas such as beer gardens, areas adjacent to the premises where seating is made available for customers (whether or not by the business), are to be treated as part of the ‘premises’.

Other tips

  • If your designated premises supervisor is ill for a short period such as two weeks, you do not have to formally vary your DPS. Any longer and a variation may be required
  • Annual fees. Failure to pay can result only in the suspension of your licence until the fees are paid. If you have a pavement licence, other factors apply as the land is the council’s land, and it is well worth checking with your licensing authority as to their policy during this period. You don’t want your pavement/tables and chairs licence to lapse due to non-payment only to have to re-apply, perhaps on less favourable terms
  • Insolvency. There is unfortunately a heightened risk in the current economic climate that premises licence holders may become insolvent/bankrupt. A premises licence will automatically lapse on such insolvency and will be lost unless a transfer application is lodged or an interim authority notice is given within 28 days of that insolvency. Given this, consider a contingency plan for transferring the licence, if required.

For any legal enquiries please visit Poppleston Allen's website

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