Coronavirus and Licensing
Licensing Act 2003 (sale or supply of alcohol, late night refreshment and regulated entertainment)
What do I have to do before I can reopen my pub/restaurant/cafe?
From 12th April under step 2 of the road map if you are able to comply with the Government Guidance for working safely during Coronavirus ensuring you, your staff, and customers are kept safe. Then your premise may open for business using outside areas.
Any seating areas which are made available adjacent to your business, or which are habitually used by your customers for consumption of food and drink, are classed as part of your premises and you must therefore ensure that you manage these areas too, this includes table service and customers needing to remain seated at all times.
During Step 2 group sizes of up to six people from different households, or any number of people from two households, are allowed to meet together in outside areas. Whilst on your premises you are responsible for ensuring that people meeting together comply with this requirement, therefore you should consider how you are going to manage this.
Please note that during Step 2 you may open your toilets, baby changing rooms or breast feeding rooms provided for use by customers. It will, as a minimum, require asking groups of more than six if they are from more than two households and you are perfectly entitled to ask for proof of this (just as you may ask for proof of age when selling alcohol).You may also consider it appropriate to display signs explaining the rules and that complying with them is a condition of entry.
Please note that during Step 2 you may open your toilets, baby changing rooms or breast feeding rooms provided for use by customers. We strongly encourage you to do this.
- Risk Assessment: You must ensure you are able to meet the Covid-19 secure requirements by carrying out a specific risk assessment and implementing any changes identified. You should also ensure you have enough trained staff to manage your customers safely and in accordance with the regulations and guidance Make sure customers understand your rules and maximum capcaity.
- Management of Food & Drink: You can open and allow customers to make use of outside seating areas of your premises but only table service will be permitted and must be used alongside other measures as identified in your risk assessment.
- Customer contacts: must display an official NHS QR code poster at every entrance to the premises so that every customer and visitor can ‘check-in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details. Official NHS QR posters can be generated online at www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster .Please note that every customer must now scan in or provide contact details to you. Where a customer is unable to scan the QR code, a member of the party must provide their contact details, including their name and a contact telephone number, or email or postal address, as well as the date and time the individual entered the premises. Entry/service should be refused to those who will not provide contact details. Details should be recorded and retained for a period of 21 days.
- Data Protection: Due to the requirement to collect personal data it is important you handle this data lawfully. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has released guidance regarding this: https://ico.org.uk/global/data-protection-and-coronavirus-information-hub/coronavirus-recovery-six-data-protection-steps-for-organisations/ To make things a little easier, here are the key messages for licence holders:
- Only collect the minimum amount of information necessary for contact tracing. The necessary information appears to be limited to a person's full name, contact phone number or email address and the date and times of their visit. Collecting anything more puts you at risk of breaching data protection law – especially if that includes recording any information about a person's health condition.
- Tell customers what data you are collecting and why. One important requirement of data protection law is to provide a privacy notice which tells people what information about them you are collecting, why you are collecting it and what will happen to it (principally who it will be shared with and how long you will hold onto it for). This can be done by a notice on your website and displayed at the entrance to your premises. A suggested wording could be:
- Waste management: Contact your waste collections provider to reactivate your collection where these have been suspended. Consider whether additional collections or additional bins are required to manage any increase in demand such as from single-use items that may need to be disposed of.
In addition to the above requirements, please be aware that the following requirements still exist in Steps 2 and 3, under other pieces of Coronavirus legislation.
- Customers must wear a face covering when indoors, except when seated at a table to eat and drink. This includes when entering/leaving the premises and visiting the toilet for example. Staff working in areas that are open to the public must also wear a face covering unless separated by a physical barrier.
- A face visor or shield may be worn in addition to a face covering but not instead of one. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth.
- A notice advising customers to wear face coverings in the premises must, except where any exemption applies, be displayed in a conspicuous location. We would also recommend that you place a notice on each table in order to remind customers.
- All tables should be socially distanced at two metres, or one metre with risk mitigation measures in place where two metres is not viable. Risk mitigation measures include increased ventilation, using screens or barriers to separate tables; and using back to back rather than face to face seating layouts.
Who can I contact about making changes to my premises to ensure it is Covid-19 safe?
Please keep in mind that changes to the layout of your premises may require an application to be made under the Licensing Act 2003. Before making any changes, please contact the Licensing Team for advice. Example of this might be if you wish to build or have an outside bar. If you need assistance with developing your Covid-19 Risk Assessment, please refer to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance available online.
Who will make sure that the new Regulations are complied with?
Environmental Health, Licensing and Trading Standards Officers will monitor compliance with the Regulations, with Police support provided if appropriate. Businesses and premises that breach them may be subject to prohibition notices, fixed penalty notices or prosecution.
We are preparing to reopen but my Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) has called in sick and has to self-isolate. Do I need to specify a new DPS?
In circumstances where someone is self-isolating because of concerns about possible Covid-19 symptoms you do not need to apply to vary the DPS. We would however advise that the DPS make sure, now, that their letter of authority is current and up to date to allow deputies, assistants and other staff to operate the business in their absence. Template authorisations are available from the Licensing Team. If your DPS will not be returning to the business, you will need to apply to specify a new supervisor immediately.
My annual fee was due whilst my premises was shut, can I reopen without paying it or pay a reduced fee to reflect the time my premises has been closed?
Whilst the Government has made a statement in relation to the payment of business rates, unfortunately, no such statement or relief has been provided in relation to payment of annual fees due under the Licensing Act 2003. You will therefore need to ensure that you pay your annual fee as usual in order to avoid your premises licence being suspended. If your fee was due during the period your premises was closed, you will need to pay before you resume trading.
For further support and advice on opening and operating safely please go to: https://www.cravendc.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information/working-safely-during-covid-19/