Licensing news and updates


Licensing Act 2003 - News and Updates

2 December 2020 - Three Rivers in Tier 2

Following the announcement from central Government, please see details below of the Tier 2 restrictions for Three Rivers. This comes into effect on 00:01 on 2 December.

Summary of measures under tiers on the Institute of Licensing website

Tier 2 restrictions on the GOV.UK website

UK Hospitality is keeping its website and guidance regularly updated. There is a useful guide to the Winter Tier System which can be viewed here 

In tier 2:

  • you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
  • pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
  • hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
    • provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol
    • close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt)
    • stop taking orders after 10pm
  • hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm
  • public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes or stonesettings.
  • organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue
  • organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
  • if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents unprecedented challenges with disruption to society likely to last for some time. Pro-active resilience and creativity now will aid in getting back to normal once the pandemic has passed. It is not 'business as usual' for the licensed trade but the licensing team remains operational to assist customers in navigating the current period as effectively as possible.

Read about the arrangements for the Christmas period between 23 December and 27 December.



23 November 2020 - Government Covid-19 Winter Plan

The Government has published its COVID-19 Winter Plan including details of England’s lockdown exit strategy and details of the revised tiers for England from 3 December.

Relevant extracts from the plan include:


The prevalence of the virus will remain high across the country on 2 December, with regional differences. The Government must therefore reimpose a tiered regional approaching England to keep suppressing the virus through the winter period.

The Government will introduce a new, stronger and more sustainable tiers framework on 2 December:

Medium (Click here for a summary table of the restriction)

  • Pubs, bars and restaurants restricted to table service only, last orders at 22:00 and close at 23:00

High (Click here for a summary table of the restriction)

  • Pubs and bars must close unless they are operating as takeaway.

Very High (Click here for a summary table of the restriction)

  • Hospitality venues must remain closed.


The Government will legislate to enhance the tools available to Local Authorities. Local Authorities will be given streamlined powers to issue improvement and restriction notices to businesses that are breaching COVID-secure rules, with the ability to compel the immediate closure of a premise that is not complying with COVID-Secure regulations. These new powers will enable upper and lower tier Local Authorities to take swift and effective action against those premises that are posing a risk to public health. Businesses will also face financial penalties for not meeting the requirements of an improvement or restriction notice issued by a Local Authority. The Government is clear that these powers should only be used where necessary and proportionate to do so, and by trained local authority enforcement officers. Local Authorities will continue the approach they have taken to date; engaging, educating and encouraging premises to comply, and only taking enforcement action to address the most pressing public health risks.


9 November 2020 - Pubs and restaurants granted ‘automatic’ permission for takeaway food and alcohol until 2022

The Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick is reportedly drawing up plans to extend the automatic entitlement for takeaways and off sales for alcohol until March 2022.
Reported in the I newspaper, Mr Jenrick said his department will look into whether this “one-size-fits-all approach should become the norm.” Mr Jenrick said: “We’ve taken decisive action since the beginning of the pandemic to support our pubs, restaurants, cafes and markets. Making it easier for them to provide takeaways has helped these businesses to adapt and helped sustain many through an unbelievably difficult year. That’s why I am extending these simple but effective reforms to support these businesses – helping give them and their employees more certainty over the coming year. It will also be a boost for their customers who can now look forward to continuing to enjoy meals at home from their favourite restaurants. As these reforms have made such a difference I will be considering making them permanent.”
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “The ability to provide takeaway services was a valuable lifeline for many hospitality venues, not just during the lockdown but in the days of reduced and restricted trade, too.
The extension will undoubtedly help many. For pubs, restaurants and cafes to operate as takeaways gives them a previously untapped revenue stream and a much better chance to survive what will be a tough winter.”
3 November 2020 - The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England)(No. 4) Regulations 2020

The Government have issued a further paper in light of the next lockdown phase. Please click here to view the published bill. For licenced premises please pay particular attention to SC17.

3 November 2020 - Further DfT guidance and advice on taxi & PHV face covering requirements

The DfT has issued further advice and guidance in light of the fact that compliance is not as high in taxis and PHVs as it is across the rest of the network.

In the communication, the DfT wrote:

“We have seen high levels of face covering compliance across the public transport network since the regulations were introduced, with the latest ONS figures showing usage to be at 91%. However, from feedback with your industry, we have been made aware that compliance is not as high in taxis and PHVs as it is across the rest of the network.

“Through our Safer Transport campaign, and the hard work of our stakeholders, we have promoted our safer transport guidance including mandating face coverings, car sharing, and social distancing. In a continuation of this, we are asking companies within the taxi and private hire vehicle sector to continue to promote our safer transport guidance. You may wish to focus on key messages such as:

  1. It is a legal requirement for passengers to wear a face covering when using taxis or private hire vehicles, unless they are exempt.
  2. Passengers can be refused travel if they do not wear a face covering.
  3. Passengers should follow the advice of the operator and driver. For example, they may be asked to sit in the back left-hand seat if travelling alone.
  4. Use contactless payment if possible
  5. Passengers should sanitise their hands when they have finished their journey

“This could take the form of a banner on your website or app, signage at a taxi rank or a notification when booking a service. Our priority is to lead with the face covering message, making sure to include a line on exemptions, and then other interventions from the guidance to then follow. We have several assets on our extranet page which you can use to help promote this should you wish - including taxi and PHV specific assets here. However, it is up to you how you display the message.

2 November 2020 - COVID-19 – 2nd National lockdown for England

From Thursday 5 November, everyone must stay at home, and may leave only for a limited set of reasons. These include:

  • For education;
  • For work, if you cannot work from home;
  • For exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household, support bubble or on your own with one person from another household;
  • For all medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm;
  • To shop for food and essentials;
  • And to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.

 A full set of exemptions will be set out in law. 

  • Single-adult households will still be able to form an exclusive support bubble with one other household, and children can move between homes if their parents are separated.
  • Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will be closed.
  • Pubs, bars, restaurants must close, except for takeaway and delivery services (but alcohol will be excluded from takeaway services).
  • People should work from home wherever possible.
  • Shielding as practised in the spring will not currently be reintroduced.
  • There is no exemption for staying away from home on holiday.
  • Inbound international travel will continue to be governed by the travel corridor approach.
  • Public services, such as job centres, courts, and civil registration offices will remain open.
  • There is no exemption for communal worship in places of worship (except funerals and individual prayer).
  • Elite sport will be allowed to continue behind closed doors as currently.
  • The the furlough scheme, will remain open until December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.
  • Schools, colleges and universities will all remain open.
  • Parents will still be able to access registered childcare and other childcare activities where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work.

 The Prime Minister will update Parliament on Monday, and MPs are set to vote on the measures on Wednesday

Guidance: New National Restrictions from 5 November has been published, and Regulations are expected later this week.

29 September 2020 - Correspondence sent to premises licence holders

The following letter was sent out to all licensed premises in the district, advising of the changes to legislation and new covid guidance - Covid letter - LA2003 [24.09.2020] (pdf)

22 September 2020 - New lockdown measures for England as COVID-19 alert level rises

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has addressed the House of Commons, announcing new measures to address the pandemic and the rate of infection which is currently doubling every 7-10 days.

Measures include a 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants, increased mandatory requirements for face coverings (including now for taxi and private hire users), tightening the 'Rule of 6' and increasing sanctions for breaches. The measures are aimed at slowing the spread of the virus, and the PM warned that further measures will be considered if necessary.

The announcements by the PM were made in his address to the House of Commons at 12.30pm today and will be confirmed in a televised address to the nation this evening at 8.00pm.

The measures in summary outlined by Boris Johnson:

  1. Work from home where possible;  Those who cannot, should still go to work.
  2. Table service only at pubs, bar and restaurants (from Thursday);
  3. All hospitality must close at 10pm - closing time (not simply last orders)(from Thursday);
  4. Extend mandatory face-coverings to staff in retail, all users of taxis/private hire vehicles and staff and customers in indoor hospitality except when seated at tables to eat or drink (indication is that this will be from midnight tonight - Wednesday, and will be an extension of existing Regulations, enforceable by the Police);
  5. Retail, leisure and tourism COVID safe guidelines become legal obligations.
  6. Businesses can be fined and could be closed if breach rules;
  7. Tighten up rule of 6: from Monday a maximum of 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, up to 30 can still attend funerals;
  8. Rule of 6 extended to all adult indoor team sports.
  9. No opening of business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events on 1 October as hoped;
  10. Rules enforced by tighter penalties: £10,000 fine can be applied to businesses who break rules;
  11. Penalty for not wearing face or breaking rule of 6 doubled to £200 for 1st offence;
  12. Greater funding for police and local authorities to enforce and options to call in military support;

The PM stated that 30 million people are currently under local restrictions and that local interventions will continue.   He stated that on scientific advice, those previously shielding would not need now to shield unless in a local lockdown area.

The PM stated that 'for the time being, this virus is a fact of our lives', and advised that no effort will be spared in developing a vaccine, treatments and new methods of mass testing. He stressed that the Government reserves the right to impose 'significantly greater restrictions... if necessary', pointing out that this will be needed if the latest measures do not have the right effect and if behaviours do not change.

The PM advised that the measures outlined apply in England, but that devolved administrations will be taking similar steps. 

21 September 2020 - Updated Covid Working Safely Guidance

There has been an update to the COVID Working Safely Guidance - the changes made relate to restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services – it includes added information on penalties for breaching the rules (section 1.1) and updated guidance on Test and Trace data and display of NHS QR codes (section 2.1).

Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers for 21 days. From 18 September, this will be enforced in law. Some exemptions apply. Check ‘Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace’ for details.

  1. Have a system in place to ensure that you can collect that information from your customers and visitors, and provide this data to NHS Test and Trace, if it is requested. Check what data you need to collect and how it should be managed.
  2. Keep a record of all staff working on your premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details.​
  3. Display an official NHS QR code poster from 24 September 2020, so that customers and visitors can ‘check-in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details. Official NHS QR posters can be generated online.

From 14 September, let customers know that by law they can only visit in groups of up to 6 people (unless they are visiting as a household or support bubble which is larger than 6). Check current guidelines. Check with customers on arrival who they are with and how many people will be attending. Put up signs to remind customers to only interact with their group.