Following Scottish and UK Government guidance that members of the public should not frequent pubs, clubs and restaurants for the foreseeable future in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the question is raised as to whether or not such premises, from a licensing compliance perspective, can offer home delivery and/or takeaway from their premises.
Some Licensing Boards and LSOs have taken the view that such activities fall within the "other activities" that must be specified in the operating plan.
The UK Government has indicated that planning rules around pubs and restaurants operating as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus response are to be relaxed. There has been no similar direct statement from the Scottish Government but it is difficult to envisage a public interest scenario that would justify that a premises could be prosecuted or subject to review of premises licence for providing food and drink for takeaway or delivery in these unprecedented times, providing their premises licence allows for the off sale of alcohol.
Glasgow Licensing Board issued guidance on Wednesday night that: "Following the announcement by the UK Government regarding a relaxation of planning rules, the Licensing Board is supportive of licensed premises which wish to provide a food take away and food delivery service. Where the premises sell food and are licensed for both on and off-sales of alcohol, the delivery of alcohol with food will also be permitted, subject to compliance with the appropriate provisions within the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Licensing Board’s alcohol delivery conditions."
The statutory licensing conditions for delivery of alcohol from licensed premises can be found here at section 119 of the 2005 Act: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2005/16/section/119
I would expect other authorities to take a similar pragmatic approach at this time, where there is an urgent need for public health pragmatism and realism about the survival of many of Scotland's licensed premises as going concerns.
What if your Designated Premises Manager is self-isolating?
Another issue that could arise for licensed premises related to their Designated Premises Manager, who they require to have working at the premises in order to sell alcohol. If a designated premises manager stops working at the premises, or their licence expires or is revoked or suspended, the licence holder must notify the Licensing Board within one week or the premises will not be able to continue selling alcohol.
However, there is no need to replace the DPM if they are self-isolating as this is no different from a holiday or other sickness scenario. If someone is signed off in the longer term, then clearly the position should be reviewed.
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