Covid 19 - What you need to know - Government issues further guidance for businesses and premises.

25 Mar

In this fast evolving situation we have received many enquiries from clients old and new regarding what appears to be changing advice.

A particular point of concern relates to the provision of off-sale services from cafes, restaurants and pubs.  The case remains, in order to sell alcohol the premises must hold a valid premises licence permitting this activity.   The activity (sale of alcohol for consumption off the premises) must also be undertaken in accordance with the Licences’ current conditions, which can vary site to site.

Following the closure of licensed premises on Friday evening, the Prime Minister made it explicit that those premises could provide a ‘takeaway’ service (subject to the above).

The ‘Lockdown’ announced on Monday evening has not changed this position.

The Government have this morning issued further guidance confirming this to be the case.

The advice reads advises restaurant, public houses, wine bars, or other drinking establishments that a Food delivery and takeaway can remain operational and can be a new activity supported by the new permitted development right. This covers the provision of hot or cold food that has been prepared for customers for collection or delivery to be consumed, reheated or cooked by those consumers off the premises.  Off-licences are included by the Government in a list of essential retail business and can remain open.

Hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites and boarding houses for commercial use were not caught by the regulations which came into force on Saturday (following the Prime Minister’s comments on Friday evening).  They are now requested to close save for the following exemptionsWhere people live in these as interim abodes whilst their primary residence is unavailable they may continue to do so.

  • Where people live in these as interim abodes whilst their primary residence is unavailable they may continue to do so.
  • Key workers, permanent residents, and non-UK residents who are unable to travel to their country of residence during this period can continue to stay in hotels or similar where required.
  • People who are unable to move into a new home due to the current restrictions can also stay at hotels.
  • Where hotels, hostels, and B&Bs are providing rooms to support homeless and other vulnerable people such as those who cannot safely stay in their home, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies, they may remain open.
  • Hotels are allowed to host blood donation sessions.

Any premise that is to remain open, either through being essential or an exception, must ensure the that advice regarding social distancing is adhered to.

A pub packed with customers collecting ‘off sale’ orders  would undermine the intentions of these extraordinary measure and may lead to a longer period of ‘lockdown’ 

Law correct at the date of publication.
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