What are the next steps for the hospitality sector?
CAROLINE MATTHEWS >
ConsultantTue 11 May 2021
For all those in the hospitality industry, yesterday’s Prime Minister’s briefing brought around some good news. PM Boris Johnson has confirmed a further, and long-awaited, easing of lockdown restrictions in England. This will help the licensed trade to get back to some semblance of normality.
Lockdown rules that have massively affected the hospitality sector during the pandemic will be significantly relaxed from Monday 17th May.
- Restaurant and pub customers can be served indoors with no requirement to order food as well as drinks,
- other hospitality venues will be allowed to reopen including childrens’ play areas, cinemas, theatres and museums,
- all holiday accommodation will be permitted to open, including hotels and B&Bs,
- indoor and outdoor events can restart with crowd capacity capped according to the venue and
- happy couples will be able to invite more guests to their wedding day.
All of this is good news, but there are caveats. The trade faces new challenges and regulations on top of those they were already dealing with pre-pandemic.
All premised must ensure that they adhere to the latest covid-secure guidance. Each type of business will have robust measure in place to enforce operating procedures, such as:
- group numbers,
- queuing/social distancing,
- ordering and paying for orders.
Staff training is an important consideration at this time. Many staff have been furloughed and will need refresher training on the usual standard licensing topics as well as on up to date covid requirements. Operators need to be aware that the requirement to keep full, up to date records of all staff training can be a specific condition on their premises licence.
Operators are advised to review their premises licences before reopening. Some of the issues to consider now are:
Has the annual fee been paid? The licence cannot be used until payment is made to the licensing authority
Are the premises licence holder and designated premises supervisor (DPS) details recorded on the licence still correct? If not, applications will need to be made to update the licence details before it can be used.
Are all the standard and specific conditions attached to the premises licence being complied with?
Are there enough personal licence holders to fulfil the requirements of any specific conditions on the licence? Under the Licensing Act 2003, all sales of alcohol must be authorised by a personal licence holder and a record kept of any delegation to members of staff. Applications for personal licences need to be made as soon as possible to an applicant’s home licensing authority if necessary. And note that the named DPS must be a personal licence holder.
Are the layout drawings still accurate after a year of chopping and changing and social distancing changes?
If any changes are needed a variation application may be needed to be made to the local licensing authority as soon as possible. The statutory timescales for determining certain applications can be 28 days. We can advise on whether an application is necessary and talk through the next steps.
Boris Johnson has confirmed that guidance on meeting up with friends and family is being relaxed. This means that a certain amount of discretion will now be given to individuals to make their own decisions as to how to keep themselves and others safe. With limits on the size of gatherings set out. Exercising caution and personal responsibility are the new watchwords.
We wish all operators a trouble-free and busy re-opening next week. With happy customers and staff who feel confident in returning to a much-missed part of everyday life and is what the hospitality industry is all about.
We now look forward to the next lockdown review in June when we hope the remaining hospitality operators will be allowed to open up again.
Contact Caroline Matthews at our Peterborough Office on 01733 865112 or click the ‘contact us’ button to email her directly. Looking for more information on Alcohol and Entertainment Licenses, click here.
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