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Updated 1 July
As Manchester reopens across sectors, public health and social distancing measures are in place across the city centre to protect and support businesses, workers, and visitors.
Road Closures and Pavement Widening
To support distancing there are a number of road and pavement actions underway including Deansgate and Stevenson Square.
Reopening of Food and Drink Businesses and Venues from 4 July
Keeping Safe in Restaurants, Pubs, Bars, Takeaways: Government Guidance: 23 June: Government – publication
Update from Manchester City Council Licensing – 30 June
Dear Premises Licence Holder/Designated Premises Supervisor/Club Secretary
Re-opening of the Pub/Bar/Club Sector – Coronavirus Regulations 2020
I am sure you will be as happy as we were to hear the Prime Minister announce that pubs and bars will be allowed to re-open on Saturday 4th July. This decision, whilst most welcome, comes with a whole host of challenges and compliance issues to make sure that premises only open when they are COVID secure. It is hoped that the information in this letter will guide you to re-opening your premises with the necessary safeguards in place for you, your customers and staff.
A link to the Government’s guidance can be found at the end of this letter along with other useful links and a pre-opening checklist.
You must read the guidance and carry out a risk assessment as it contains many of the steps that will usually be necessary to ensure your premises are safe before you open. and contains helpful tick boxes when you have met a standard and further useful links to other documents.
There is also a poster you must display to state that you have complied with the guidance:
You should also particularly note the following:
- You should keep a temporary record of customers and visitors for 21 days to assist NHS Test and Trace requests for data if needed. Please ensure that you comply with any GDPR requirements in doing this.
- Your responsibilities to facilitate and encourage compliance with social distancing for staff and customers – currently 2m (or 1m with mitigation where 2m is not viable). Mitigation could include installing screens and making sure people face away from each other.
- At present venues should not permit live performances, including drama, comedy and music to take place in front of a live audience. All venues are required to take steps to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other which includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult, loud background music, communal dancing, group singing or chanting. You should carefully risk assess whether to show live sporting broadcasts as this will further increase the risk of the aerosol transmission of the virus.
Please read your premises licence conditions and discuss with your licensing authority if anything that appears on it causes you concern in relation to your re-opening plans. Please give particular consideration to any areas that you are proposing to sell alcohol from. These must be authorised under your licence including outdoor areas such as outside bars or table service provision.
The four licensing objectives of the Licensing Act 2003 must always be upheld. These are:
- The prevention of crime and disorder
- Prevention of public nuisance
- Public safety; and
- The protection of children from harm.
In addition to adhering to your licensing obligations, you should also consider your health and safety and infection control responsibilities on how to re-open safely. These include;
- Fully considering the risks posed by COVID-19 by completion of a documented risk assessment
- Considering Government guidance to ensure that your workplace and business is compliant for staff and your customers
- Having suitable social distancing measures in place which includes adopting an effective customer queuing management system both inside and outside your premises
- Having comprehensive cleaning regimes in place
- If and where required, having provision of PPE for staff
- How you minimise the impact of your reopening and the effect it may have on your neighbours
- How you manage your clientele both within your premises and in any outside space
- The use of SIA door supervisors, even if this is not a condition of your existing premises licence
- Ensure your CCTV is working, and surveillance covers all areas of the public spaces in and outside your premises
- Consider reducing your opening times to enable you to manage effectively and reduce the likelihood of anti-social behaviour and / or violent disorder
- Review and revise your fire safety risk assessment as your practices might have different risks that need to be addressed and managed. Please see guidance below from the Fire Service
- Outside spaces need to be properly managed by the venue whether by SIA staff or premises staff and you should use plastic only for outdoor use, unless expressly authorised to use glass by the licensing authority. Seating must be in line with current guidelines
- In order to assist premises remaining COVID secure, premises should adopt a table service system rather than allowing customers to approach the bar. Hand sanitisers should be readily available for customers and staff and social; distancing measures should be maintained in all areas of the premises including the toilet areas.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) would like to reassure the hospitality sector that a dedicated policing operation will be in place across the first two weekends in July, this will be directly related to licensed and entertainment premises being able to reopen to the public. The operation will incorporate a multi-agency licensing and compliance team who will be conducting formal visits to premises during that period.
GMP are keen to work in partnership with the hospitality industry through what is both a unique and demanding challenge, adopting a pragmatic approach to ensure public safety, engaging, explaining and encouraging compliance.
Whilst breaches of licensing conditions will be dealt with locally, I have stressed to licensing officers across Greater Manchester that in the first instance we will work together to overcome minor breaches. However, I ask that you make a concerted effort to work within the framework of the LA03, the COVID-19 Secure guidelines and your premises licence.
Where there are serious issues or concerns, GMP, working with local authorities, will take enforcement action where necessary. Whilst we of course want people to have a good time and enjoy themselves, we must remember that Coronavirus is still a serious risk to health. As such, people need to continue to follow the Government’s guidance to mitigate the transmission of the virus, including social distancing, increased hygiene measures and following the instructions of your staff.
Finally, the Government have signalled their intention to amend Licensing and Planning legislation as soon as possible to assist the hospitality sector. The Business and Planning Bill, which is currently in Parliament, will firstly allow premises not currently authorised to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises at all (on sales only) to provide off sales until 30 September 2021 without the need to make any application to the licensing authority.
Please note that licensees who have had an application for an off sales permission refused or had off sales permission excluded by variation or at review, in the last 3 years, are excluded by this licence extension. Any restrictions on the licence are suspended, insofar as they are inconsistent with this new authorisation for off sales. For example, if you had a condition stating “No off sales” this would not apply.
If you are already permitted on and off-sales
For premises already authorised to sell alcohol for consumption both on and off the premises, the following conditions or types of conditions are suspended:
- any conditions restricting the time when an off sale may be made (when the premises is also open for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises)
- any condition that would prevent alcohol being sold in an open container (for example a condition requiring off sales to be in sealed containers only)
- any condition that would prevent off sales where it is a sale for delivery In other words, if you have on sales and are open for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises then you can provide off sales in open containers to the times you are permitted for on-sales.
Tables and Chairs Licences
The Bill also contains important provisions about applying for ‘pavement licences’ known as Tables and Chairs licences in Manchester.
Operators, whether or not they already hold a tables and chairs licence, may apply for a temporary tables and chairs licence to the local authority. This is effectively a “Fast track” application process for pubs, wine bars, drinking establishments or other premises used for the sale of food or drink for consumption on or off the premises. T
here is a public consultation period of 7 days beginning with the day after the day on which the application is properly made. The local authority may grant the application subject to certain criteria (mainly the ability of non-vehicular traffic being able to use the highway).
A temporary tables and chairs licence granted in this way can last until 30 September 2021 or such time as the local authority specifies in the licence, although that cannot be less than 3 months.
The local authority may publish conditions to apply to the tables and chairs licence which may be different to their standard conditions for these licences. Equally, it can apply to revoke the licence if it considers that the conditions have been breached or serve notice on the licence holder requiring the taking of steps to be remedied.
For information on how to apply for a Pavement Licence please visit our website at:
If you would like any further information on any licensing matters, please do not hesitate to contact the Licensing Team at:
Good luck in your re-opening and we wish you well.
Danielle Doyle, Licensing Manager
Superintendent Chris Hill, Greater Manchester Police