Reopening hospitality businesses – How should you prepare? - Kuits Solicitors Manchester
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Reopening hospitality businesses – How should you prepare?

Reopening hospitality businesses – How should you prepare?

5th June 2020 - Published by Kuits licensing team

With a month to go until the date that hospitality operators will be able to reopen their doors, many will be considering what they need to do in order to prepare. We still await the publication of the COVID-19 secure guidelines for the industry, but we can safely assume that social distancing measures are likely to involve reduced capacity or operational changes for many.

We will provide more detailed advice following the publication of these guidelines, but at present, from a licensing perspective, we would advise operators to consider the following.


  • Who is your current DPS? Are they going to be coming back to work, or are they, for example, shielding, remaining furloughed or even being made redundant? If so, a new DPS will need to be named.
  • What do your licence conditions require in regard to staff training? If you are updating procedures to implement social distancing measures staff training will likely need to be updated and you may be required to document this.


  • Have you paid your premises licence annual fee, and any late night levy or tables and chairs licence fee? Some authorities have deferred these, but they will be chasing payment once you are up and running.


  • If you are going to be trading at reduced capacity do you want to look at extra hours to try and regain some revenue? For, example, do you want to open for breakfast? If so, a variation to hours may be required.


  • Will you be making changes to your internal layout to adhere to social distancing measures? If so, these might need to be approved by way of application.

External Areas

  • Have you renewed any existing Highways Act licence if necessary?
  • Is the external space covered by your premises licence, or do you have off sales to allow consumption within it? If not, an application may be required.
  • Is there any external space that you haven’t used previously that you could take advantage of? If this is public highway, you will need to apply for a Highways Act licence.
  • Can you work with other operators in the area to make use of available public space, or look to pedestrianize roads? If so, applications may be required to action this.


  • If you are trading at reduced capacity, or operating a different model as compared to pre-lockdown, are there any conditions attached to your licence that are no longer appropriate? For example:
    • If you anticipate being quieter, you may not require your usual number of door staff. Does your licence require minimum numbers of door staff on certain days? If so, an application may be required to reduce this.
    • Does your licence require you to cease use of your external area at a certain time? Would it be useful to operate it later? If so, an application may be required to amend this.

Now is the time to start considering any necessary applications, so that you have all the necessary permissions in place as soon as you are ready to reopen.

The Kuits licensing team is happy to consider your plans with you, and undertake an initial free of charge review of your licence to flag any variations that may be necessary.

To discuss your proposals for reopening you can contact Rebecca Ingram in the Kuits licensing team on 0161 838 7888 or email

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