COVID-19: Licensing Advice - Alcohol, Entertainment, Gambling and Events

As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, we are keeping the matter under review, following government advice, and updating our business continuity arrangements to ensure we can continue to deliver our licensing service.

Some of this information may be subject to change without notice. We will do our best to keep you informed but we appreciate your understanding and patience at this time.

Applications

In line with government advice, officers are working from home as much as possible. Our offices are closed, so please do not attempt to make the trip to drop off any paperwork, payments etc. Please see below and on each webpage for specific application guidance by licence type. 

We will do our best to process your application as quickly as possible but please bear in mind it will very likely take longer than usual.

Panel hearings have been postponed until alternative arrangements can be put in place.

Contacting the team

As we are very busy trying to process as many applications as possible, please do not contact us unless it is absolutely necessary. In the first instance, please check the website for any updates or changes to procedures. 

  • If you cannot find the answer to your question on the website, please use email to contact us. Our email address licensing@southoxon.gov.uk will be monitored throughout the day and we will respond as soon as we are able.
  • If you do not have access to email, please call us on 01235 422556. It is likely that we will not be able to take your call at the time, so please be prepared to leave a message with your name, phone number and the reason for your call.
  • We will try to return any calls and respond to emails within 5 working days, and we are dealing with complaints and compliance issues as normal wherever possible.

Business closures

Some premises types have been closed by the government in order to reduce the spread of the virus. See gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close for the current position and a link to explain which businesses can reopen on 4 July. Businesses that breach this regulation will be subject to prohibition notices, potentially unlimited fines and the loss of any licences they hold. Advice issued by Thames Valley Police in respect of security for closed business can be found in the Downloads section on this page.

Advice for businesses

We have created a guidance document for businesses which covers the following: 

  • A link to the COVID-19 secure guidance issued by the government
  • A checklist to use when considering if you can safely re-open your business (when the regulations allow)
  • Information on how to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
  • Advice on off-sales of alcohol
  • Advice on takeaway and home deliveries of food and drink

The document, which contains a number of useful links, can be found at this link (89.7 KB) PDF

We have also published some guidance on off-sales (143.4 KB) PDF , following the publication of the Business and Planning Act 2020 on 22 July 2020. 

Social distancing and food hygiene

You will need to ensure that you take all reasonable steps to protect your staff and customers from the spread of the virus. This involves ensuring that the social distancing rules are applied. Social distancing can be promoted by ensuring your customers pay online or by card over the telephone rather than using cash. Details of social distancing rules up to and after 4 July can be found at this link

Anyone involved with the preparation or delivery of food must ensure that they do not touch their face, especially around the eyes, nose and mouth, ensure they wash their hands more regularly and for 20 seconds, and regularly use hand sanitiser (alcohol content greater than 60%) where unable to wash hands. If you have any food hygiene questions please contact our Food & Safety service at env.health@southandvale.gov.uk or leave a message with your name and number on 01235 422403 and someone will get back to you.

Support for businesses

The government has put in place measures to support businesses affected by the virus. There are grants and loans available as part of this package, please use the following links for more information:

If you’re a local business owner you can also contact our South and Vale Business Support team.

We recognise these are challenging and uncertain times and would encourage anyone struggling with their mental health and wellbeing or financial difficulties to seek help from the broad range of support available including:

Specific Guidance by Licence/Application Type

Temporary event notices (TENs)

Please use the existing online process for this if you can.

If you cannot use the online process, you can submit the form by email, ensuring you copy this to Thames Valley Police Licensing at Licensing@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk

Alternatively you can submit your TEN by post, enclosing a cheque for the fee of £21. Please take care to complete the temporary event notice form in full. Any incomplete or illegible forms will be rejected and will not be processed. You must also copy the application to Thames Valley Police at Licensing, Thames Valley Police, Headquarters (South), Kidlington, OX5 2NX.

Cancelling or postponing an event with a temporary event notice

We cannot amend a temporary event notice to move an event to a new date, nor can we issue a refund for any cancelled event. You can however withdraw the TEN so that it does not count towards your totals for the year. Please email us at licensing@southoxon.gov.uk to do this.

Premises licences - Gambling Act 2005 and Licensing Act 2003

Applications can be made through our online portal in some cases, or by post or email - for Licensing Act 2003 please see our Applicant Guidance document at http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/services-and-advice/business/licensing/personal-and-premises-licences in the first instance. Officers are available to consult with responsible authorities on draft applications and can provide guidance on matters which should be considered prior to submission of the full application, in order to reduce the risk of representations being made against the application.

Premises licence annual fees - Gambling Act 2005 and Licensing Act 2003

The current position is that these should still be paid as normal and we are still legally required to suspend licences where payment is not made. Any overdue fees are required to be paid in order for us to lift the suspension of a premises licence.

Postponing an event with a premises licence

If you need to postpone your event due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you need to check your licence very carefully. Most premises licences will be issued in perpetuity and can therefore be used at any time in the future. Some premises licences however may be time limited, in which case they cannot be used for different dates. You can check if your premises licence is time limited by looking at the front page of your licence, and refer to the section that read “Where the licence is time limited the dates”. If you would like to discuss a variation to your licence, please contact us.

Personal licences - Licensing Act 2003

We are required to see original documents for this application type, so the application should be made as normal but by post due to the closure of the office to members of the public. We recommend all documents are sent by recorded/special delivery.

Last reviewed: 30 - 07 - 2020

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