A document from licensing experts seen by The Morning Advertiser has suggested that pubs reopening toilets may help deal with some of the anti-social behaviour seen in some towns and cities.
If the authorities feel opening certain toilets would support the promotion of the licensing objectives, it would seem appropriate and in accordance with the principles to engage with premises as a first step.
However, it is worth noting that there can be no immediate obligation placed on pubs to open their toilets as there may be circumstances where a risk assessment determines it is not safe to do so.
The document, which does not constitute legal advice, has been developed by a cross-sector group, looking to reduce the risk for licensed premises operating amid the pandemic.
The group included Jim Cathcart from UKHospitality; Ian Graham from the National Police Chiefs Council and Licensing Advisory Group; John Miley from the National Association of Licensing Enforcement Officers; Clare Eames from Poppleston Allen; Leo Charalambides from Kings Chambers; and David Lucas from the Institute of Licensing.
Relaxation of planning laws
Planning laws were relaxed at the start of the coronavirus pandemic (March) to allow pubs and restaurant to operate as hot food takeaways.
Initially there was confusion about whether pubs could offer food and drinks (including alcohol, subject to licensing conditions) delivery and takeaways while closed to the public in Government guidance, restaurants and cafés were mentioned but there was no mention of whether pubs could do the same – and include alcoholic drinks – and there is no specific guidance for pubs.
However, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government confirmed pubs were able to offer hot food takeaway and delivery services for up to 12 months.