Pubs and restaurants urged to apply for occasional licences ahead of Phase 2
Licensed premises that wish to sell alcohol in an outdoor area are being urged to apply for occasional licences ahead of Phase 2 of the Scottish Government’s COVID 19 Route Map for coming out of lockdown.
The licences will permit pubs and restaurants to open outdoor spaces with physical distancing and increased hygiene measures in place.
Alcohol must be licensed for on-sale consumption if it is to be sold in an outdoor area. In cases in which the outdoor area already forms part of a Premises Licence, the area can be utilised under the current terms of that licence. In such instances, licence holders must have written policies and procedures on physical distancing and hygiene measures that can be demonstrated to Police Scotland or Licensing Standards Officers if necessary.
Where the outdoor area is not currently part of a Premises Licence, the Licensing Board will permit the use of Occasional Licences as a temporary measure. The prohibition against a series of Occasional Licences will be relaxed, as will the requirement to submit applications four weeks in advance. Every attempt will be made to process applications as quickly as possible, however turnaround times cannot be guaranteed.
Under current legislation, an Occasional Licence has a maximum duration of 14 days in terms of the legislation and this cannot be extended or altered by the Licensing Board. Pubs and restaurants can submit a series of Occasional Licence applications at the same time. Members’ Clubs should note that they are restricted to four applications for Occasional Licences lasting four days or more in any calendar year. This is stipulated by legislation and is not something that the Licensing Board has any discretion.
This guidance is intended to provide information for premises seeking to take up this opportunity in Phase 2. It will be reassessed ahead of Phases 3 and Phase 4 of the Scottish Government’s COVID 19 Route Map.
Aberdeen Licensing Board convener Councillor Marie Boulton said: “Phase 2 of the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Route Map for coming out of lockdown will enable pubs and restaurants to open outdoor spaces with physical distancing and increased hygiene routines in place. If, however, the outdoor area is not currently part of a Premises Licence then an Occasional Licence must be sought as soon as possible.
“We must ensure a safe transition to Phase 2 and any pub or restaurant without the appropriate licence in place will not be allowed to open its outdoor space. I would therefore urge publicans and restaurant owners to apply for an Occasional Licence without delay.”
To apply for an Occasional Licence, applicants should visit:
Applicants can also visit the Council’s Covid-19 webpages for general information.
Aberdeen City Council’s Planning and Street Occupation (Roads) teams will temporarily relax controls, which would normally surround the provision of outdoor tables and chairs and will take a reasonable and proportionate approach in terms of planning and roads enforcement. This will allow a supportive approach to temporary uses for on-street seating to accommodate physical distancing.
Should any premises wish to make an outdoor area permanent then this would have to be the subject of a formal application to vary the Premises Licence.