The Institute of Licensing has published a Protocol designed to assist licensing authorities in complying with their obligations and duties under the Licensing Act 2003 during this emergency period. It covers applications involving alcohol, entertainment and late night refreshment.
The Protocol takes into account the closure of premises (including most licensed premises), restrictions on freedom of movement and social distancing requirements. It recognises the challenges facing both industry and regulators, and promotes the continuation of the licensing system using alternative means of processing applications, encouraging compromise, and conducting hearings using remote technology.
IoL Chairman Daniel Davies said: ‘The current pandemic and necessary restrictions on business and individuals have had an enormous impact in all areas. In particular, licensed businesses face an existential threat and must be able to innovate and look at new ways to conduct business. At the same time, the licensing objectives within the Licensing Act 2003 must be promoted and safeguarded. Local authorities also face very significant challenges in keeping the licensing system going. It is essential that the licensing system continues to work, and works well. The Institute of Licensing’s Protocol is designed to inform and assist licensing authorities and operators in managing, and using, the licensing system effectively and fairly during these extraordinary times.’