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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice.

Alcohol licensing

Guidance for keeping workers and customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic

Read the government guidance for reopening your premises from 4 July 2020.

Businesses, organisations and individuals who want to sell or supply alcohol must have a licence. 

Notice of publication of Licensing Policy

In accordance with section 5 of the Licensing Act 2003, we give notice that our Licensing Policy will be available from the 31 December 2020. The policy will come into effect on the 1 February 2021.

 Read our Statement of Licensing Policy

Due to the current coronavirus restrictions, our offices are closed. However, you can email to LicensingTeamB@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk to request a copy of the policy document.

You can also get a copy from your local library. We advise you to check availability and opening hours of a library before you travel.

Dorset_Council_Statement_of_Licensing_Policy_Final_ 01-02-2020

Businesses that might need a licence

The types of businesses and organisations that need alcohol licences might include:

  • pubs and bars
  • cinemas
  • theatres
  • nightclubs
  • late-opening cafes
  • takeaways
  • village and community halls
  • supermarkets

Types of licences

The types of licences required are defined as follows:

  • any business or other organisation that sells or supplies alcohol on a permanent basis needs to apply for a  premises licence
  • anyone who plans to sell or supply alcohol or authorise the sale or supply of alcohol must apply for a  personal licence
  • qualifying members’ clubs (such as the Royal British Legion, working men’s clubs and rugby clubs) need to apply for a club premises certificate if they plan to sell or supply alcohol

Licensable activities

All businesses and organisations that undertake licensable activities on a permanent basis must have a premises licence or club premises certificate from their local authority.

Sale or supply of alcohol

The sale by retail of alcohol and the supply of alcohol by or on behalf of a club are both licensable activities.

Regulated entertainment

Regulated entertainment is broadly defined as any entertainment that takes place in the presence of an audience (whether members of the public or a club), or otherwise for profit, and the premises have the purpose of providing the entertaining concerned. This could be:

  • a performance of a play
  • an exhibition of a film
  • an indoor sporting event
  • a boxing or wrestling entertainment
  • a performance of live music
  • playing of recorded music
  • a performance of dance

Read more about when you need approval to put on certain types of regulated entertainment.

Late night refreshment

Late night refreshment is the sale of hot food or drink to the public to consume off or on the premises) between 11pm and 5am. For further information, see Schedule 2 to the Licensing Act 2003.

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