Coronavirus legal guidance – the do’s and don’ts

Coinciding with today’s statement on coronavirus by the Prime Minister, in which he stated that:

  • everyone in the UK should avoid “non-essential” contact with others and “unnecessary travel” and
  • people should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and social venues,

David Clifton and Suzanne Davies have written an article for Pub & Bar entitled “Coronavirus legal guidance – the do’s and don’ts“. Although written with the pub and bar sector principally in mind, the content of the article will apply to the entire UK hospitality sector (i.e. not only pubs and bars, but also restaurants, hotels, theatres, cinemas, SEV premises, clubs, casinos, bingo clubs, betting shops, AGCs, amusement arcades and other hospitality and leisure businesses).

[Note: for updated news that gambling premises will not qualify for business rates relief, see our subsequent posting entitled “Shock news – no business rates relief for casinos, bingo clubs and betting shops“]

The article reflects the position as it stood when first published on the Pub & Bar website at approximately 6pm on 16 March 2020.

[Note: for updates, incorporating additional financial support measures for the hospitality and leisure sectors promised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer:

The Prime Minister’s statement was made just minutes before our article was due to be published online and last-minute updates were therefore incorporated, as a result of which we anticipate further updating will be required in due course once the UK Government’s coronavirus-related advice and guidance has itself been updated.

For the sake of all hospitality businesses affected by the Prime Minister’s statement, we can only hope that urgent meaningful steps are taken by government now to safeguard the future of this vital sector of UK industry. To quote the Chief Executive of the BBPA: Failure to do so will destroy the industry”.

You can download below:

  1. The content of the article as it appeared on the Pub & Bar website today (but including links to relevant gov.uk and other source material)
  2. A transcript of today’s statement on coronavirus by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

UPDATES:

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s above-mentioned statement, UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls has said:

This is catastrophic for businesses and jobs.  The government has effectively shut the hospitality industry without any support, and this announcement will lead to thousands of businesses closing their doors for good, and hundreds of thousands of job losses.

Over the past few weeks the industry has suffered unprecedented drops in visits and many business are already on their knees.  This latest advice leaves the industry in limbo, with no recourse to insurance.

The Government must act now to stop them going under and protect the people’s jobs. These venues play a unique role as community hubs and it’s in all our interests to protect and preserve them so they are still there once we emerge from this crisis.

We need immediate and far-reaching support from the government, and meaningful business continuity measures.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, has added:

The severity of the COVID-19 crisis is now impacting on Pubs with devastating effect. The very existence of thousands of pubs and a lot more jobs is now at risk. The government needs to give clear instructions and detail on the support package to rescue the sector and hundreds of thousands of jobs. Urgent measures to support cash flows and enable cost reductions is an absolute necessity. Government action now will save thousands of jobs and save our pubs. Support for pubs now is an investment in the long-term future of communities across the UK without it we risk losing our community assets forever.

You can also download below a letter sent last night by the BBPA to the Prime Minister. It is headed “UK Pub Industry will be lost in days without immediate, decisive government action”.


As reported by us more fully here, arising directly from the Prime Minister’s above-mentioned statement, the Betting & Gaming Council has made an “immediate and top priority call” for:

  • emergency assistance on employment costs and
  • relief and time to pay on taxes and duties, plus urgent access to finance also required,

adding that:

  • casinos face an immediate crisis as customer levels drop by up to 90% as tourism grinds to a halt, with real fears for thousands of staff and entire businesses and
  • High Street betting shops face a decrease of up to 60% trade on sports betting alone as confirmation came through that the Grand National will be cancelled, along with all other major sporting events.

The Institute of Licensing now has a dedicated COVID-19 section on its website, that you can access here.