What to consider for reopening a licensed business

We hope that this Checklist will assist licence holders with the information that you need to consider to reopen in an easy to use format.

The time spent writing risk assessments, planning and assessing changes before reopening will help ensure that you and your staff provide the confidence to your customers and that your licensed venue remains a safe and welcoming business.

Whilst the official government guidance has not been released, we expect it to be very similar to the current guidance for the other sectors. The latest government guidance notes are located at www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19 and will be updated with further guidance for the hospitality industry over coming weeks.

Coronavirus: pre-opening checklist

Is the Designated Premises Supervisor named on the licence (the DPS) still working at the premises? If the DPS has left this needs to be addressed asap.

Has there been a change to the premises licence holder or their registered address?

Has the Premises Licence annual fee been paid? If not, payment will be required on reopening to prevent suspension notices (if applicable).

Is the Premises Licence and Notice on display? Is the full licence available for inspection?

Is there an opportunity to amend the current licence – hours, conditions or layout/plan? Some of new areas may not be licensed (i.e. has the bar area changed) so check the existing licence and plan.

Have building works been undertaken during the closure? If so, licensing and planning consent is likely to be required and you will need to follow this up?

Is your premises licence fit for purpose? – do you need extended hours at start or end of trading, do you need to modify conditions or the addition of off sales?

Are you adding food beyond 11pm – check if you have late night refreshment for trading beyond 11pm? Consider food registration issues and discuss with local food EHO.

Does the licence cover activities or do you need to add other permissions – e.g. films?

Check for any licensing and planning restrictions which might need to be amended or submitted as a result of changes. This could relate to the use of areas, trading hours or operational conditions.

If you want to have outdoor bar/marquee/structure/fixed furniture outside on your land for more than 28 days you may need planning consent. Consider liaising with neighbours and resident associations; it is likely that the ambient noise levels will increase and residents may become sensitive to noise issues.

Gaming machines - Has the machine permit annual fee been paid? If it has not then the permit will have lapsed and need to apply for a new one. If the premises licence has been transferred you need to submit a new machine Notification (automatic entitlements to 2 gaming machines)

Local Licensee Association – check for local advice and support in your area.

You can contact Local Authority Licensing for their views on changes to premises by emailing licensing@eastdevon.gov.uk and with information about licensing available on our website.

Devon County Council manage applications for temporary street pavement licences

You are advised to act at this point

  1. Review existing licence conditions (and in light of any subsequent COVID 19 regulations).
  2. Ensure compliance and consider whether anything needs amending – e.g. use of any existing outside space or any potential opportunity areas, licensing of external dispense bars, off sales, etc.
  3. Consider any work undertaken before opening and whether they need permission or new applications. Have those changes already altered the existing licence?
  4. Undertake a pre-opening licence health check and a risk assessment to comply with COVID-19 regulations (when released) – including social distancing guidelines; hygiene information; entry and exit routes; pick up and drop off point instructions; customer instructions upon service and payment process.