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Monday, May 29, 2023

Licensees Urged to Check Licences Are Up to Date for Phase 2 Easing of Lockdown

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Licensed premises in Moray are urged to ensure they have the appropriate licences for outdoor areas as Scotland moves into Phase 2 of the COVID-19 recovery period.

Outdoor areas can be used to ensure bars and restaurants conform to safe distancing requirements for staff and customers.

The Scottish Government has yet to produce more detailed guidance but in the meantime licensed premises should ensure that they have the appropriate licences in place.

A spokesman said:

“If licensed premises such as bars or restaurants have outdoor drinking areas that are included in their license, the licensee may not need to do anything in order to reopen in Phase 2.

“If there are no outdoor drinking facilities on the license but there is a potentially suitable outdoor space as part of the premises, as long as the premises are not in an area covered by the ‘no consumption of alcohol in a public place’ byelaw a licensee can sell off-sales in order to reopen an outside space.

“These off-sales can only be sold between 10am and 10pm.

“Anything outside these restrictions will need an occasional licence.”

For all other potentially suitable outdoor spaces licensees may need to apply for an occasional licence in order to reopen in Phase 2.

For clubs the same considerations apply, but any occasional licences will not impact on the numbers limit for the premises.

Licensees should check their specific scenarios with our licensing team at this email: emma.rapley@moray.gov.uk

The council is awaiting clarification and guidance from the Scottish Government as to how Phase 2 will work, but premises cannot open an unlicensed area as and when the Scottish Government announces a relaxation of social distancing requirements.

This still has to be licensed.

Although the 28 days’ notice of an occasional licence has been relaxed by the Moray Licensing Board, applications still have to be publicly consulted upon for a minimum of seven days.

Therefore, any premises wishing to open as soon as the announcement is made must ensure the licence is in place beforehand.

That means examining the licence now.

The council plans to make the process easier in order that premises will not have to make a series of applications to cover each 14-day period.

Details on this revised process will be available shortly.

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