Bars, pubs and other leisure venues

As the current situation with the Covid-19 outbreak continues to develop, the council is constantly keeping the matter under review, following government advice and looking at its own business continuity arrangements to ensure we can continue to deliver the services.

Note please that the situation is constantly changing and some of the information below may be subject to change. We will do our best to keep you informed but we appreciate your understanding and patience.

Self-employment income support scheme

The chancellor announced a new self-employment income support scheme to support self-employed people who have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

GOV‌.UK has further details about who is eligible for the scheme and how it will work.

Self-employed people do not need to get in touch with HMRC as the scheme isn’t yet open for applications. HMRC will contact eligible customers by the beginning of June, inviting them to apply.

Unfortunately, we are aware of an increase in scam emails, calls and texts. If someone gets in touch claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or that a tax refund is owed, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, please do not respond.

HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for these details.

The government has also introduced the following help for the self-employed:

Cheltenham Borough Council's "Business rates 'holiday' and cash grants for businesses" information.

Business continuity – Licensing

In line with government advice, officers will be working from home more often. This means our capacity to see people at the Municipal Offices will be affected. We request that you please do the following: 

  1. In the first instance, please use email as a means of contact with us. Our email address ( will be monitored throughout the day and we will respond as soon as we are able.
  2. If you need to bring in documents or application forms in person, please leave these with the reception staff marked for the attention of licensing. We will contact you for payment.
  3. Phones will, in the first instance, be answered by business support staff if you have to call.  They will do their best to help but may have to refer a query to officers which may cause a delay in dealing with your enquiry.

Note: It may be that the Municipal Offices could close on government advice. If this happens, we will be in touch again. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact

PPL/PRS suspend music licensing payments and other requirements 

Dated 31/03/2020 ( 

We wish to reassure customers of TheMusicLicence that we are introducing a number of measures to support them during these unprecedented times. These include:

  • not charging customers for their music usage during the period they are closed (temporarily or permanently) due to COVID-19;
  • changes to our payment policies to introduce further flexibility, including deferred payments, for customers during this difficult period; and
  • temporary suspension of late payment surcharges.

PPL / PRS FAQ section for more information.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020

Updated: 27 March 2020

The government has now laid the relevant regulations to enforce the closure of certain licensed venues. 

Pubs, cafes and restaurants

A person responsible for carrying on a business which is listed below must, during the emergency period:

  • close any premises, or part of the premises, in which food or drink are sold for consumption on those premises, and cease selling food or drink for consumption on its premises.
  • if the business sells food or drink for consumption off the premises, cease selling food or drink for consumption on its premises during the emergency period.
  1. Restaurants, including restaurants and dining rooms in hotels or members’ clubs.
  2. Cafes, including workplace canteens (subject to sub-paragraph (2)), but not including—
    1. cafes or canteens at a hospital, care home or school;
    2. canteens at a prison or an establishment intended for use for naval, military or air force purposes or for the purposes of the Department of the Secretary of State responsible for defence;
    3. services providing food or drink to the homeless.
    4. [Workplace canteens may remain open where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food.]
  3. Bars, including bars in hotels or members’ clubs.
  4. Public houses.

For the purposes of this part of the regulations, an area adjacent to the premises of the business where seating is made available for customers of the business (whether or not by the business) is to be treated as part of the premises of that business.

For the purposes of this part of the regulations, food or drink sold by a hotel or other accommodation as part of room service is not to be treated as being sold for consumption on its premises.

The following premises are ordered to close, without exemption:

  1. Cinemas.
  2. Theatres.
  3. Nightclubs.
  4. Bingo halls.
  5. Concert halls.
  6. Museums and galleries.
  7. Casinos.
  8. Betting shops.
  9. Spas.
  10. Nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers.
  11. Massage parlours.
  12. Tattoo and piercing parlours.
  13. Skating rinks.
  14. Indoor fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools, bowling alleys, amusement arcades or soft play areas or other indoor leisure centres or facilities.
  15. Funfairs (whether outdoors or indoors).
  16. Playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.
  17. Outdoor markets (except for stalls selling food).
  18. Car showrooms.
  19. Auction Houses.


A person responsible for carrying on a business consisting of the provision of holiday accommodation, whether in a hotel, hostel, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartment, home, cottage or bungalow, campsite, caravan park or boarding house, must cease to carry on that business during the emergency period.

A person may continue to carry on their business and remain open:

a. to provide accommodation for any person, who—
   i.      is unable to return to their main residence;
   ii.      uses that accommodation as their main residence;
   iii.      needs accommodation while moving house;
   iv.      needs accommodation to attend a funeral;

b. to provide accommodation or support services for the homeless,
c. to host blood donation sessions, or
d. for any purpose requested by the Secretary of State, or a local authority.

Retails shops

In addition, a person responsible for carrying on a business, not listed in Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the regulations, offering goods for sale or for hire in a shop, or providing library services must, during the emergency period
a.cease to carry on that business or provide that service except by making deliveries or otherwise providing services in response to orders received
    i.      through a website, or otherwise by on-line communication,
    ii.      by telephone, including orders by text message, or
    iii.      by post;

The premises exempt from the above are:

  1. Food retailers, including food markets, supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops.
  2. Off licences and licensed shops selling alcohol (including breweries).
  3. Pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies) and chemists.
  4. Newsagents.
  5. Homeware, building supplies and hardware stores.
  6. Petrol stations.
  7. Car repair and MOT services.
  8. Bicycle shops.
  9. Taxi or vehicle hire businesses.
  10. Banks, building societies, credit unions, short term loan providers and cash points.
  11. Post offices.
  12. Funeral directors.
  13. Laundrettes and dry cleaners.
  14. Dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health.
  15. Veterinary surgeons and pet shops.
  16. Agricultural supplies shop.
  17. Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off or collection points, where the facilities are in the premises of a business included in this Part.
  18. Car parks.
  19. Public toilets.

Who will enforce the regulations?

Designated council officers and all police officers will enforce the regulations.

Offences and penalties

It is a criminal offence for any person, without reasonable excuse, not to comply with the mandatory closures.

Penalty for not complying with the regulations is an unlimited fine.

Government advice and support

Local advice

Frequently asked questions 

Can I start a food delivery business using my premises licence?

The government recently announced emergency plans to relax planning laws to allow bars, restaurants and other leisure venues to start food deliveries.

What did the announcement actually say?

  • Relaxation of planning measures will be introduced as soon as possible and will apply for a limited period
  • The measures will apply to hot food and drinks.
  • Serving of alcoholic drinks will continue to be subject to existing licensing laws.

What does your premises licence allow you to do?

We are still waiting for more information from the government, but based on what we know from the announcement:

  1. The delivery of food is not licensable under the Licensing Act 2003. It is therefore open to businesses to start food delivery services immediately from a licensing perspective.
  2. However, note that hot food and beverage delivered between 23:00 and 05:00 will require a Late Night Refreshment Licence.
  3. Alcohol deliveries cannot be included in your food deliveries unless:
    1. you have an off sales licence for alcohol
    2. payment for alcohol deliveries is taken where you hold the licence and is taken during your licensing times.
  4. You must ensure you have adequate age verification procedures in place for deliveries that include alcohol.

I need to postpone my event, will my licence be affected?

If you need to postpone your event due to the Covid-19 outbreak, you need to check your licence very carefully. Most premises licenses will be issued in perpetuity and can therefore be used at any time in the future. Some premises licences however may be time limited. If your premises licence is time limited, it cannot be relied on for different dates. You can check if your premises licence is time limited. On the front page of your licence please refer to the section that read “Where the licence is time limited the dates”. Finally, if you submitted a Temporary Events Notice for your event, you cannot transfer this to different dates. You will need to submit a new Temporary Events Notice.