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

As the COVID-19 pandemic 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 are now being held remotely. If you are required to attend a panel hearing, full details will be sent to you on how to access the meeting with the report. 

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.unit@whitehorsedc.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.

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
  • Information on how to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
  • The ‘Rule of 6’
  • Test and trace (collecting customer contact information)
  • Curfew between 22:00 – 05:00
  • Service of food and drink to seated customers
  • Face coverings
  • Entertainment
  • Off-sales
  • Takeaway and home deliveries of food and drink

The templates relating to off-sales of alcohol under the Business and Planning Act referred to in the above guidance can be found here:  

For advice on any potential COVID outbreak at your premises, please follow the guidance on this action card.

Advice for outdoor events

Please see our events management page for more information.

Business closures

Some premises types have been closed by the government in order to reduce the spread of the virus. Businesses that breach this will be subject to prohibition notices, potentially unlimited fines and the loss of any licences they hold. Thames Valley Police has also issued advice in respect of security for closed businesses

Support for businesses

The government has put in place measures to support businesses affected by the virus.

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:

Covid 19 Update for public events in the district

The Director of Public Health, Ansaf Azhar sent a letter to Town and Parish Councils on Monday 5 October about Covid-19 measures for public events taking place in the district.  Which you can see below.

There is also a checklist for public events during the pandemic which you may find useful.

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.unit@whitehorsedc.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 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.

Contact us - Licensing

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01235 422556
(Text phone users add 18001 before dialing)

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Vale of White Horse District Council
135 Eastern Avenue
Milton Park
Milton
OX14 4SB