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Home > News > Food, drink & hospitality businesses – licensing pre-opening checklist

Food, drink & hospitality businesses – licensing pre-opening checklist

23 June 2020 | Melissa Toney

Hopefully today is D-day for the food, drink and hospitality sector when we get an update at 12:30 from the PM as he outlines a further easing of lockdown restrictions.

Venues closed since the middle of March will be able to welcome visitors as long as safety measures are in place but without any definitive guidelines so far, we have been flailing around in the dark.

The PM is also due to set out guidelines on how for the hospitality sector can safely reopen following a review of the 2m distancing rule.

In preparation, our specialist Licensing & Regulations solicitor, Melissa Toney, has put together a Licensing Pre-opening Checklist which businesses can use to help put plans in place:

  • Is the current DPS is still working at the premises and how many personal licence holders you have working on site.
  • Has there been a change to the premises licence holder or their registered address?
  • Is the Premises Licence Summary and Section 57 Notice on display? Is the full licence available for inspection?
  • Is the bar authorisation form in place and all training records up to date?
  • Has the Premises Licence annual fee (and late night levy) been paid? Check for suspension notices and remove if applicable.
  • Do you need to modify conditions or the addition of off sales (more details below)? Consider time limited licence applications or TENs if permanent changes not needed/possible.
  • If you are adding a food offer, consider if you need late night refreshment if trading beyond 11pm? Consider food registration issues and discuss with local food EHO.? Do you have unused spaces in your building which can be used for social distancing and do you need permission from the local authority?
  • Pavement licence, A Boards, marriage licence and special treatment licence – have they been renewed and if renewed, were fees paid or have they been deferred? Is there an opportunity to amend the licence – hours or area? If required, check that the licence is on display
  • Consider use of external spaces which may be owned by your landlord or local authority and speak to them. Find out if they intend to widen pavements or increase space available to premises.
  • Consider existing operating policies in light of COVID 19 regulations (and consider if you need new/revised ones) –such as admission and dispersal, searching, drugs, toilet checks, underage, vulnerable persons, cleaning protocols, security, avoiding overcrowding of areas used regularly like corridors and toilets and other confined spaces, controlling queues and ensuring markers are in place or other measures to comply with social distancing.
  • Consider website and social media to give advance notice to customers of how you will operate in respect of issues that might cause licensing issues – e.g. queuing, overcrowding, use of outside areas, admission rules.
  • Consider staff training on operational changes that will impact on reopening

This checklist will help start you on the right path, but there are inevitably going to be other issues to consider. If you would like help and guidance from a licensing and regulations legal expert please contact Melissa Toney by calling 0117 906 9400 or email 

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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