England and Wales - Coronavirus - Licensing implications
The concerns regarding the spread of the Coronavirus rising and its consequences, we have looked at how this may have day to day implications upon your licensed operations. Clearly there are issues arising with regard to reduced footfall but compliance with the licensing legislation needs to be maintained.
In respect of England and Wales the mandatory conditions require that the supply of alcohol is conditional upon there being a Designated Premises Supervisor in respect of the Premises Licence.
Additionally, that every supply of alcohol under the Premises Licence must be made or authorised by a person who holds a Personal Licence.
So what would be the position if the Designated Premises Supervisor is required to self-isolate or, worst case scenario, becomes hospitalised as a result of contracting the virus.
The Guidance issued by the Secretary of State confirms that the Designated Premises Supervisor is the key person in relation to the premises and will usually be responsible for the day to day management of the premises. It has been long accepted that the Designated Premises Supervisor does not need to be present at all times of trading and indeed in relation to most styles of operation can be absent from the business for a period of time equating to that of a standard holiday without any need to make application to vary the Licence to appoint a new Designated Premises Supervisor, but what about now?
In the current situation we would suggest the following:-
- Where the Designated Premises Supervisor is self-isolating for 7 days no variation is required to the Licence.
- Where the Designated Premises Supervisor self isolates or is absent due to the Coronavirus for a period of up to 14 days there is no requirement to vary the Premises Licence.
- Where the Designated Premises Supervisor is absent from the premises for a period of time greater than 14 days due to self-isolation or is experiencing for symptoms but can still remain in contact with the premises then there is probably still no requirement to vary the Premises Licence so as to appoint a further Designated Premises Supervisor. However, over an extended period of time their ability to understand the day to day operation of the premises will weaken and there will come a cut-off point where it would be appropriate to vary the Licence to appoint a new Designated Premises Supervisor so as to uphold the principles of the Licensing Act.
- If the DPS contracts the virus and unfortunately suffers more severe symptoms, particular if these involve hospitalisation, then serious consideration should be undertaken as to a variation to appoint a new DPS. Clearly their ability to look at the day to day operation of the premises will cease and potentially place the premises in breach of the mandatory conditions.
Clearly, there is no set formula as to when the DPS should be changed. Each set of circumstances will need to be looked at on its own individual merits.
If in doubt please contact ourselves to assess with you.