Information correct at date of publishing 9 August 2020

On the 7 August Preston was declared an 'area of Intervention' due to the rise in local Covid-19 cases.

Businesses such as Pubs, Restaurants and Cafes do not have to close, but the way in which people socialise in them has been limited. Please visit our FAQ's for more information, and our Posters below.

Public houses, bars and restaurants are able to open as long as they implement infection control measures. 

Nightclubs, bowling alleys, sexual entertainment venues and indoor soft play area (which some pubs have) must remain closed. For more information on the guidance on the further easing of coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions please visit opening certain premises and venues from 4 July 2020.

The government has prepared guidance for Restaurants, Pubs, Bars and Takeaway Services and the visitor economy for Hotels.

Icon for pdf A Quick Guide to CoVid-19 Infection Control in Pubs, Restaurants & Cafes etc [1.3MB]

For more information on the Business Closure restrictions visit our Business Closures pages.

Businesses and Premises that Must Close

Re-opening Considerations

  1. Ensure your premises Licence is current and you have paid your annual fee. If you are looking to alter your hours of opening or make significant change to your operation you may need to apply for a variation. If you have any concerns contact Licensing Services for advice.
  2. Ensure that your current Designated Premises Supervisor is named on the Premises Licence and there have not been any recent changes.
  3. Ensure that you update your current risk assessments to reflect Covid-19 Infection Control and Social Distancing. Read our Advice to Employers and Employees pages for advice on matters such as Risk Assessments, Social Distancing and Employee relations.
  4. Ensure your premises are safe to reopen and that essential maintenance and necessary alternations have been undertaken. Read our Re-opening Workplaces after the Closure Period pages.
  5. Ensure your ready to reopen your kitchens and your Hazard Analysis is up to date. Read our Re-opening Food Businesses after Prolonged Closure pages.
  6. Ensure that you implement a system to maintain records of staff, customers and visitors for NHS Test and Trace

Poppleston Allen have produced a Pre-opening Checklist that premises can use to ensure that they are complainant.

Licenced Premises Pre-opening Checklist

Cask Marque's have produced a Countdown to Re-opening Guide 2020.

Understanding Social Distancing (Further Guidance) - Keeping Customers Safe

This section builds upon the advice contained in the governments guidance for Restaurants, Pubs, Bars and Takeaway Services,and should be read with that guidance.

The advice is that persons (or separate households) must remain 2 meters apart. Persons (or separate households) may come as close as 1 meter as long as mitigating measures are put in place.

What are mitigating measures?

Clear demarcation: Ensure that there is clear demarcation for persons queuing, whether that be at entrances, toilets or the bar. Ensure that there are arrows and other signs guiding people in the right direction, especially if there is a one way system.

Sitting different groups side by side rather than facing each other: Tables need to be an absolute minimum of 1 meter apart. This might not be sufficient if persons cannot pass safely between tables.

Sitting customers back to back: Remember the distance between the customers must be a minimum of 1 meter. If using movable furniture then it may need to be wider allowing for customers to move the furniture when seated. Customers and staff have to move safely between tables. If using fixed furniture such as booths, they are likely to need additional screening, or other barriers, as it is unlikely customers will be 1 meter apart.

The use of physical barriers: Customers from different households can be very close if there is a physical barrier between them such as a Perspex screen.

Strict Management Controls: You may need to remove tables and chairs and use signage. Some venues have struggled to remove tables and chairs and have therefore decided to keep the tables in the venue but put strict written rules in place preventing guests being seated on certain tables and placing signage on the tables stating the tables are not in use. This management system should be recorded in a written management plan.

Consider outside areas. Do not place seating near to ash trays, this may encourage smokers to come close to other persons who are seated to extinguish their cigarette butt.

Encourage sitting rather than standing. However if you allow standing in the external areas ensure groups remain in one place, use floor marking etc. If your internal seating is full, you need to explain to persons who are outside that they will not be allowed into the premises should it start to rain, you should do this before you take their orders. Ensure signage is displayed to this effect. 

Beer Gardens and Pavement Cafe's

Existing: If you were using a beer garden or pavement cafe before the Coronavirus Emergency then you can use it again as long as you implement Social Distancing Guidelines.

Opening a new seating area on private land (Beer Garden): You should contact Licensing Services as soon as possible.

New Pavement Licences: This new process introduces a streamlined and cheaper route for businesses such as cafes, restaurants and bars to secure a licence to place furniture on the highway. This will support them to operate safely while social distancing measures remain in place. This will provide much needed income over the summer months and protect as many hospitality jobs as possible. The Government has produced Draft Guidance for Pavement Licences. When these measures are brought into law we will issue further guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do premises need to undertake a Risk Assessment? Yes, your Health and Safety risk assessment need to be updated to reflect this new risk to staff and customers.
  2. Can premises play recorded music? Yes, but it should be incidental background music. People need to be able to talk without raising their voice/shouting whilst social distancing (2 meters apart).
  3. Can  premises screen sports, such as football matches? Yes, but you must discourage shouting and cheering (as this spreads the virus). Therefore you should ensure everyone remains seated and keep the TV volume low. If customers shout at the sports, e.g. football give them polite warnings. You should consider turning the football off or asking customers who repeatedly shout, to leave. If shouting at sports events is a regular problem for your venue you will need to stop screening sports events, like football.
  4. Can premises allow live bands, if they have social distancing measures in place? No, live performances remain prohibited. 
  5. Do I have to offer a booking service? No, but it helps to control the amount of customers arriving at the front door, and will help you to plan the numbers of staff you need on shift.
  6. Can customers be served at the bar? Yes. But we would strongly recommend table service as this will limit employee exposure and reduce the amount of people walking around your premises. If you are allowing bar service you will need to erect signage, allocate queuing areas and have Perspex screens at service areas. You should not allow persons to sit at your bar.
  7. Can I accept cash? Yes, but we strongly recommend using contactless card payments as cash can transfer the virus. There are a number of cheap and affordable card payment service providers.
  8. Can customers use fruit/games machines? Yes, but strict cleaning and social distancing needs to be implemented. Offer hand sanitizers near the machines, ensure staff clean them regularly. If two machines are located side by side then you may need to move one, provide screens or turn one off, to maintain social distancing. Remember if moving a games machine you need to adhere to the code of practice.
  9. Can customers play on my pool or snooker tables? Yes, but you need good control measures. You will need to remove all equipment from the public area, triangles, cue's, balls, chalk etc. These will need to be cleaned between new customers. Customers playing should be encouraged to sit between shots. Spectators must not be allowed to stand around the pool tables and watch. If tables are close, you may need to take every other table out of use. Other pub games like darts can also be played, with strict control measures in place.


Businesses are required to provide certain information to their customers. The business can choose how they do this but often the best way to do this is by displaying posters. The Council has created a number of posters that you can use in your business should you choose to do so.

The Council has produced a number of Posters that businesses may wish to use to control their toilet facilities:

Useful links

Spoilt Beer Guides

If you have any concerns or would like any advice please contact Licensing Services on 01772 906911 or