Expert regulatory and licensing lawyer Melissa Toney gives us a hospitality update for the New Year. It’s my first week of logging in and officially waking up after the festive break. January is dubbed the most miserable month of the year and in taking stock of where we are as a country, I feel a mixture of optimism and anxiousness for the year ahead.
On the 4 January 2022 the Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed there will be no new Covid restrictions in England at this moment and has recommended to his Cabinet that they continue with Plan B as the public have effectively changed their behaviour to protect themselves and others. He stated this was a moment for “utmost caution” but maintained that the current balance of measures is the “right approach to take”.
The hospitality sector seems to have survived the Christmas despite cancelled bookings and numbers dwindling as we were reminded of the increasing Covid statistics and advice to limit socialising; whilst at the same time not getting the same level of support a lock down would bring.
Omircon Hospitality and Leisure Grant
But it isn’t all bad news and I continue to remain optimistic. On Friday Local Authorities were given the funding for the Omircon Hospitality and Leisure Grant and The Departments for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are encouraging local businesses like pubs and restaurants to apply to their local Council. As with most funded grants there is a slight delay to it being received and distributed but I echo the advice to apply as soon as possible to avoid further delays.
These grants are per premises and based on the rateable value of each venue:
Businesses with rateable value:
£0-£15000 they can claim £2667
£15000-£51000 they can claim £4000.
Those with a value of more then £51,000 can claim £6000 which is the full grant available.
Other businesses which supply pubs can also apply for funding as part of the Additional Restrictions Grant which is a discretionary grant allocated by Councils.
Whilst these grants won’t fix all the problems, they are a step in the right direction.
Extended Bank holiday licensing hours
Looking ahead it is hoped things get better, we are currently in consultation to extend licensing hours across England and Wales to mark Her Majesty’s 70-year reign and a blockbuster weekend of celebrations is planned. This will include a 4-day bank holiday weekend from Thursday 2 June until Sunday 5 June to allow the nation to celebrate this historic milestone.
To support the celebrations, the Home Office launched a public consultation on extending licensing hours for pubs, clubs and bars from the normal 11pm to 1am on Thursday 2, Friday 3 and Saturday 4 June.
The public consultation will ask for an extension of licensing hours for premises already licensed for the sale of alcohol for consumption and premises already licensed for the provision of regulated entertainment.
The consultation will focus on whether licencing hours should be extended and the scope of a licensing hours order, including the dates, times, geographical extent, and licensable activities to which it should apply.
Section 172 of the Licensing Act 2003 allows the Home Secretary to make a licensing hours order, giving permission to premises to open for specified, extended hours to mark occasions of exceptional international, national or local significance.
The month-long public consultation (started 03/01/22), will give the public the opportunity to submit their views on the proposals as well as seeking the views of specific stakeholders, including the police, licensing authorities and alcohol awareness groups.
Specialist licensing legal advice
If you have any questions about your legal obligations or a licensing issue, please contact me by calling 0117 906 9400 or email email@example.com