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COVID-19 Licensed Premises Advice

Coronavirus – Guidance for Licensed Premises

Reopening of businesses and venues from 15th August 2020

The following businesses and venues were permitted to reopen from 15th  August 2020, as outlined in the table below:

  • Bowling alleys
  • Indoor skating rinks
  • Indoor play areas, including soft play
  • Casinos
  • Exhibition halls and conference centres (although this should only be for government endorsed pilots)

Guidance to ensure safe reopening of businesses and venues from 15th August 2020

People should continue to socially distance from those they do not live with wherever possible. Social interactions should be limited to a group of no more than two households (indoors and out) or up to six people from different households (if outdoors). It is against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces), other than where an exception set out in the Regulations applies


Businesses and venues following COVID-19 Secure guidelines can host larger groups in line with guidance for their sector. This is also the case for events in public outdoor spaces that are organised by businesses, charitable or political organisations, and public bodies, provided they take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of transmission, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidance and including completion of a risk assessment. Any other gathering in a public outdoor space must not be any larger than 30 people, other than where an exception set out in the Regulations applies.

Businesses should demonstrate to their workers and attendees that they have properly assessed their risk and taken appropriate measures to mitigate it, for example by publishing their risk assessment online or making it available at the premises/event.

In particular, those operating venues or running events following COVID-19 Secure guidelines should take additional steps to ensure the safety of the public and prevent large gatherings or mass events from taking place. At this time, venues should not permit live performances, including drama, comedy and music, to take place in front of a live audience.

Individual businesses or venues should also consider the cumulative impact of many venues reopening in a small area. This means working with local authorities, neighbouring businesses and travel operators to assess this risk and applying additional mitigations.

These could include:

  • Further lowering capacity - even if it is possible to safely seat a number of people inside a venue, it may not be safe for them all to travel or enter that venue.
  • Staggering entry times with other venues and taking steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding areas.
  • Arranging one-way travel routes between transport hubs and venues.
  • Advising patrons to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the venue.

Businesses and venues which will remain closed

All businesses and venues can remain open, or reopen as stated under Sections 1 and 2 above, except for those in the list below, which remain closed in law:

  • Nightclubs, dance halls, and discotheques
  • Sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars

All indoor and outdoor hospitality including, cafes, bars, pubs, and restaurants, can open unless they are a part of the premises of a business or venue which must remain closed as set out in section two above, unless they are in self-contained units that can be accessed from the outside.

We hope to continue to phase reopening further businesses as soon as possible, and will work with local councils which have a high prevalence of COVID-19 to consider local measures and guidance reflecting where further business openings could be delayed.