In light of the government announcement on Friday 20 March regulations came in to force on Saturday 21 March at 2pm making it illegal for certain premises to remain open, other than for takeaways.
There is also a requirement for a long list of other types of premises to close. The list of premises affected is wider than had originally been anticipated.
At the present time the regulations only apply in England and Wales.
A summary of the regulations, in so far as they apply, is set out below:
The following premises must close and cease selling food or drink for consumption on their premises:
In addition to the above, the following premises must close
There are a very limited number of exceptions as follows:
Food or drink sold by a hotel or other accommodation as part of room service is NOT to be treated as being sold for consumption ON its premises and may continue.
You cannot circumvent the regulations by selling food and drink for consumption off the premises and permit customers to use an outside seating area whether or not this seating is provided by you.
Any outside seating area adjacent to premises where seating is made available for customers of your business (whether or not that seating is provided by you) is to be treated as part of your premises and consumption of food and drink provided by you in these areas will amount to an offence under the regulations.
Any person who breaches of the regulations may be prosecuted, and on conviction, subject to an unlimited fine.
Persons responsible for carrying on a business include:
Where the offence is committed by a corporate entity any officer of the business may be prosecuted if it can be proved that the offence has been committed with
The regulations will expire on the 20 September 2020. Where the Secretary of State is of the view that these regulations are no longer necessary for the protection of public health then an order can be issued terminating the effect of the regulations.
There is also an obligation on the Secretary of State to review these regulations every 28 days. The first review will be on the 18 April 2020.
It goes without saying that any of the premises listed above must close and cease selling food and drink for consumption on the premises until further notice. Off sales of alcohol where your licence permits, and off sales of food and non-alcoholic drinks, are still lawful.
Where you are the owner or proprietor of a business but do not have day to day control of the business you must ensure that all reasonable steps have been taken by you to ensure not only that the business is closed but that it remains closed until further notice. This is something that should be kept under review
If you have an outside seating area adjacent to your premises, tables and chairs must be removed immediately.
Where there is seating adjacent to your premises that is not provided by you, you should take steps to ensure that your customers do not congregates to eat or drink anything provide by you in this area.
A simple notice to this effect outside your premises, and an instruction to staff to ensure that this happens would, in our view, be sufficient.
If you require any assistance in relation to the implementation of these regulations please do not hesitate to contact a member of the licensing team.
This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at March 2020. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions