COVID-19: Key questions the hospitality industry is asking20th March 2020 - Published by Felicity Tulloch
The hospitality sector has been hit incredibly hard over the last week, and looks set to suffer as more and more stringent measures are brought in to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Here, head of licensing Felicity Tulloch answers some of the questions our clients have been asking us over the last couple of days.
I have several Temporary Event Notices (TENs) already issued in relation to events I had planned over the next couple of months. In light of the current climate I don’t think I will be able to use them. Can I surrender them?
Yes, you can withdraw the TEN and claim back the TEN days, so long as you give at least 24 hours’ notice to the local authority. Our advice would be to withdraw TENs on an ad hoc basis rather than all at once because if things start to improve, you may still wish to utilise them.
My DPS is self-isolating. Should I name someone else in his place?
You will not need to name a new DPS if your current individual is ill or is self-isolating for a relatively short period – e.g. 1 or 2 weeks. If they are ill or unable to work on a more long term basis, then you may need to consider this option. If you need assistance with any DPS variation, you should contact us. You should also check whether your licence contains any conditions which require a personal licence holder, or number of personal licence holders to be on site at all times or at any particular time.
I’ve got a hearing in 2 weeks, will it go ahead?
It is very difficult to say at this moment whether it will or not. We would advise that you keep in close contact with the Licensing Authority. We expect, where possible, Local Authorities will look to employ technology to enable them to carry out hearings, perhaps by using Skype, Zoom etc.
Can we do a delivery/takeaway service whilst we cannot open the premises?
At present, in terms of government guidance, this is certainly an option for you, and the government have also relaxed planning restrictions if your planning permission does not currently allow for this. From a licensing perspective, your considerations will depend on whether you are providing food or alcohol or both.
If you are providing hot food, this is unrestricted up until 11pm. If you want to provide hot food after 11pm, you will need to check whether late night refreshment is permitted under your licence, and whether this is permitted indoors, outdoors or both. If late night refreshment is not permitted, you will not be able to provide hot food or drink by delivery or takeaway after 11pm. If it is permitted indoors only, the food would need to be provided to a customer inside your premises, so you couldn’t offer delivery. There has been no indication of any relaxation of these restrictions from a government perspective, but we’ll update you if this changes.
If you are providing alcohol, you will need to check whether your licence permits off sales. If so, you will be able to provide delivery and/or takeaway. However, you should also check whether there are any conditions attached to your licence which restrict your off sales permission. If you are unsure, please get in touch with us.
If we are open and trading, do we have to comply with all our licence conditions as normal?
We understand that these are extremely challenging times and that, if you remain open, you will want to streamline your operations as much as possible. For example, if you are open, you are unlikely to need your usual numbers of door staff – e.g. if your licence requires a specific number at weekends. Technically, your licence conditions cannot be changed without a formal application, but we have had some success in asking authorities to confirm that they would not enforce any technical breaches during this period. If you’d like us to assist you with any specific conversations, please do get in touch.
I’ve signed a lease but I want to pull out
Our commercial property team are here to advise you on your legal obligations in respect of sites you might be looking to dispose of or were planning to acquire.
I think I’m going to have to let some of my staff go
Our employment team are here to advise you on how you can protect your business and support your staff over the coming days and weeks.
If you would like specialist advice in relation to anything mentioned above, please contact Felicity Tulloch on 0161 838 7804 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.