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Alcohol Licensing - New Temporary Off-Sales Permissions

Businesses such as pubs, bars and restaurants have been hit hard by Covid-19. Many have been closed for an extended period and as they re-open, social distancing guidance will significantly affect their capacity to accommodate customers.

This measure forms part of a package designed to make it easier for businesses to make use of outdoor space for dining and the sale of alcohol, helping the hospitality sector get back on its feet again through the busy summer months.

The provisions in the Act temporarily modify the Licensing Act 2003. This provides an automatic extension to the terms of most premises licences which only permit the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises, to allow the sale of alcohol for consumption off the premises.

This will make it easier for licensed premises to sell alcohol to customers for consumption off the premises in England and Wales, which will allow businesses to trade and maintain social distancing.

The new off-sales permission will permit off-sales to be made at a time when the licensed premises are open for the purposes of selling alcohol for consumption on the premises, subject to a cut off time of 11pm or the closure time of an existing outside area, whichever is earlier. Measures also temporarily suspend existing licence conditions, in so far as they are inconsistent with the new off-sales permission.

Conditions on existing dual premises licences (permitting both on-sales and off-sales) that would prevent one or more of the following are also suspended under the temporary off-sales permission:

  • Off-sales being made at a time when the premises are open for the purposes of selling alcohol for consumption on the premises (subject to a cut off time of 11pm or the closure time of an existing outdoor area, whichever is earlier
  • Off-sales being sold in an open container
  • Deliveries to buildings used for residential or work purposes

The new off-sales permission is authorised under section 172F(2) of the Licensing Act 2003 in respect of on-sales licences and section 172F(5) of the Licensing Act 2003 in respect of dual licences.

However, you should notify the Licensing Team if you intend to start making off-sales under the new permission, so that we are aware of all the ways you are providing licensable activities. We will also be able to advise you if you are not entitled to the new permission.

Please take time to read the guidance issued by the government a link to this guidance can be found below.

Downloads
Last updated 7 August 2020
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