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Advice for licensed premises selling alcohol - COVID-19

Pint of beer

This page was updated on the 19 July 2021

The Government has decided to move to step 4 of the roadmap.

The pandemic is not over. Cases are increasing rapidly and a third wave is underway. Step 4 does not mark the end of the need for caution and restraint.

It is important to remember the pandemic is not over. Cases are currently rising, as are hospitalisations. Cases, hospitalisations and, sadly, deaths, will rise further as society and the economy reopen.

Lifting Coronavirus restrictions does not mean that the risks from COVID-19 have disappeared. Vigilance must be maintained and people will be asked to make informed decisions and act carefully and proportionately, to manage the risks to themselves and others. 

For more information see HM Government COVID-19 Response Summer 2021.

Carrying out risk assessments

Businesses still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business.

The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify. Many control measures that have been in place previously were there due to health and safety legislation rather than the specific coronavirus legislation. It remains very important to implement suitable control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between employees and members of the public.

When undertaking your risk assessment you must have regard to the available guidance. Following the guidance is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and you are free to take other action, so long as the same level of protection is achieved. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.

Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to guidance.

Failure to implement suitable control measures may lead to formal action being taken against the duty holder(s). Please visit Health and Safety Executive - Coronavirus for more information on COVID-19 risk assessments.

It is also important to remember that your risk assessment and subsequent controls will be influenced by the prevalence of COVID-19 in the general population of Preston, the numbers of people in Preston who have received their vaccine and the demographics of your customers (Age, general health etc).

When the prevalence of COVID-19 in the general population is considered high then businesses will be expected to implement stricter control measures. When the prevalence of COVID-19 is lower in the general population then fewer or less strict control measures maybe acceptable.

Currently the prevalence of COVID-19 in population of Preston and Lancashire is very high and businesses will be expected to have more and stricter control measures.

High COVID-19 cases in Lancashire and stricter control measures

Currently the prevalence of COVID-19 in population of Preston and Lancashire is very high and businesses will be expected to have more and stricter control measures. These include:

  • Asking staff and customers to clean their hands regularly;
  • Cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly;
  • Reducing unnecessary contact in the workplace, where it is practical. This means ensuring different groups of customers remain separate and keeping employees working in bubbles etc;
  • Ensuring that all indoor spaces are well ventilated (ensuring windows and doors are opened) and utilising outdoor space where practical.

Coronavirus restrictions on premises serving alcohol have been removed

  • All remaining limits on social contact (currently 6 people or 2 households indoors, or 30 people outdoors) have been removed and there will be no more restrictions on how many people can meet in any setting, indoors or outdoors.

  • All settings can open, including nightclubs. Large events, such as music concerts and sporting events can resume without any limits on attendance or social distancing requirements.

  • All restrictions on life events such as weddings, funerals, bar/bat mitzvahs and baptisms have been removed, including the remaining restrictions on the number of attendees.

  • There is no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing.

  • There is no longer a legal requirement for employees or customers to wear face coverings.

Relevant Government Guidance

You should read the guidance on our Employers and Employees COVID-19 pages for general advice as well as reading our sector specific guidance.

The Council has published guidance for Licensed premises

Downloadable posters we have provided

I've read the guidance but I still have questions, who can I contact?

The Environmental Health Department enforce health and safety requirements in hospitality premises.  You can contact them using the coronavirus report form.

Request Coronavirus Advice Form

I'm concerned that the control measures in a workplace are not adequate, what can be done?

Preston City Council's Environmental Health Department have powers to investigate, advise and, if necessary, take formal enforcement action, against businesses that are not implementing suitable control measures.

You can report business you think is breaking the law by using the button below. You can report business you think should be closed using the button below.

Report a Coronavirus Issue Form

Frequently Asked Questions

Do employees and customers need to wear face coverings?

Face coverings are no longer required by law. However, the government expects and recommends that people continue to wear face coverings in crowded, enclosed spaces. Where worn correctly, this may reduce the risk of transmission to themselves and others. Be aware that workers may choose to wear a face covering in the workplace.

Consider encouraging, for example through signage, the use of face coverings by customers and workers, particularly in indoor areas where they may come into contact with people they do not normally meet.

This is especially important in enclosed and crowded spaces. When deciding whether you will ask workers or customers to wear a face covering, you would need to consider the reasonable adjustments needed for staff and clients with disabilities. You would also need to consider carefully how this fits with other obligations to workers and customers arising from the law on employment rights, health and safety and equality legislation.  Icon for pdf Poster - Wear a Face Covering [544.05KB]

Do I still need to display a QR code?

Being able to identify and trace persons who maybe infectious remains a top priority for the government. Hospitality venues are strongly encouraged to display an official NHS QR code poster. Although not legally required to do so, this will support NHS Test and Trace to contact those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 so that they can book a test. You can generate an NHS QR code poster online, to enable individuals to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app. You should also have a system in place to record contact details for those who do not have the app. Icon for pdf Test and Trace Register Template [253.4KB]

What is the NHS Covid pass?

The NHS COVID Pass is a method of COVID-status certification. The NHS COVID Pass allows people to demonstrate that they're at a lower risk of carrying COVID-19 and transmitting it to others, through vaccination, testing or natural immunity.

It can help organisations to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Organisations that operate large, crowded settings (for example, nightclubs or large pubs and venues that encourage dancing) where people are likely to be in close proximity to a large number of those from other households to use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry.

Using the NHS Covid pass may mean other control measures do not need to be used as venues are limiting the opportunity for infectious persons to enter their premises.

Do I still need to offer table service?

It is no longer a legal requirement, but by having guests seated you limit the opportunity for them to interact with persons from separate groups and therefore limit the opportunity for the spread of the virus. 

Can customers be served at the bar?

Yes customers can be served at the bar, but you must ensure that employees are protected (Perspex screens and visors) and that at busy times social distancing measures are used to keep customers apart (Floor signs, barriers etc).

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