Pubs permitted to open 4th July - licensing considerations arising out of the guidance issued on 23rd June
Richard Taylor, 24th June, 2020
The long awaited news that our pubs could reopen on 4th July was given by the Prime Minister yesterday. Guidance was then issued by the government.
A link to the full guidance is provided here.
This guidance is largely a health and safety guide on the safe operation of pubs and bars but it does throw up a number of licensing issues.
The guidance is clear that venues should not permit live performances of music, comedy or drama. There will be guidance issued soon on the reintroduction of this type of entertainment.
Recorded music is permitted as is the use of TVs but the volume of these has to be carefully considered. The volume should not be at a level that would cause people to raise their voices (to prevent aerosol transmission).
Similarly operators should not have entertainment that is likely to encourage people to sing, chant or dance both for the reasons of preventing aerosol transmission and to ensure social distancing.
Any internal soft play equipment (Wacky Warehouse/Fun Barns etc) must remain closed.
The increased use of outside areas increases the possibility of complaints from neighbours who have just experienced 3 months of total silence from the venue. Steps must be taken to ensure that everything possible is done to mitigate noise from outside areas especially later in the evening.
It is anticipated that there may be queues for venues. Operators will need to ensure not only that those in the queue are socially distanced but also that queuing is orderly and does not give neighbours cause to complain.
Due to capacity limits that will be necessary to promote social distancing, operators will need to consider how entry to premises is to be managed – it may well be that someone is required on the door.
The guidance recommends “Informing customers that they should be prepared to remove face coverings safely if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purposes of identification.” This could include a request to do so to ensure that the appropriate age verification policy (Challenge 21/25) is implemented.
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Richard Taylor is the head of our nationally renowend Licensing team. One of the most experienced Licensing lawyers in the country, Richard has dealt with everything imaginable throughout his career and counts major supermarket chains, national retailers, hotel operators, cinema operators, betting companies and pub companies amongst his clients.