Licensing Standards Newsletter - March 2020

Welcome and useful contacts

Welcome to our March 2020 Newsletter.  Contact Raymond Park (East), Eric Dearie (West) or the licensing board team for advice and information on all aspects of alcohol licensing; licensing applications; applying for a licence or for an update on licensing applications.

Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 – Changes to Alcohol Licensing

This month’s Newsletter will concentrate solely on the Coronavirus as it affects the workings of The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.  Below is a summary of the 2020 Act which has been provided by the Council’s licensing team on behalf of the Argyll and Bute Licensing Board.  The full 2020 Act can be viewed here -  


Under the 2020 Act where the Board determines that a hearing cannot be held in person, or at a meeting of the Board, because of a reason relating to coronavirus, then before it can reach a decision on the matter which would have been the subject of the hearing, it must give any person who would have been given the opportunity to be heard at the hearing the opportunity to be heard instead by whichever of the following means that person prefers:

  • Telephone
  • Written representations (including email, or other means of “electronic communication”)
  • Video conference (if the Board has video conferencing facilities)

Where the Board gives a person an opportunity to be heard by any of the above means, and doing so would be inconsistent with a requirement imposed by and Regulations made under the 2005 Act, the requirement of said Regulations is to be construed as permitting the hearing by that means.


A licensed premises does not cease to be used for the sale of alcohol if it is closed for a temporary period due to the ongoing coronavirus situation.

Transfer of Licences

 Any applications for transfer of a premises licence will be accepted by the Board later than the required 28 day period for such applications to be made if the applicant has been unable to comply for a reason relating to coronavirus.

Applications by provisional premises licence holders

Any applications made by a provisional premises licence holder for the first time to extend that licence by 6 months shall be granted by the Board where satisfied that the reason for delay in completion/conversion of the premises is outwith the licence holder’s control and relates to coronavirus.

Premises manager

The deadline for notifying the Board of any individual ceasing to be premises manager has been extended from 7 to 28 days. Also the period for making a follow-up variation application to substitute the premises manager is extended from 6 weeks to 3 months, or where such an application can’t be made within that period due to a reason relating to coronavirus, that period may be extended by the Board on a request from the applicant.

Sale of Food and Drink Operating plan

If food is sold on the licensed premises, off-sales of alcohol are permitted, but the operating plan does not expressly authorise food and drink to be taken away or delivered for consumption off the premises, a term to that effect is to be implied into the operating plan. However, following the end of the emergency period, if a premises wishes to continue this arrangement on a permanent basis, an application must be made to vary the licence to that effect.


Renewal of licence

Where a personal licence renewal application has been made and not yet determined by the Board before the expiry date of the licence, the licence shall continue to have effect for a period of 6 months beginning on the expiry date of the licence.

Where an application for renewal of a personal licence cannot be made within the required period (the period of 9 months beginning 12 months before the expiry of the licence) for a reason relating to coronavirus, the renewal application can be made up until the day before the expiry date of the licence. The Board will also take into account any failures to undertake the prescribed training requirements on a case-by-case basis and consider extending the periods to undertake said training where this is considered necessary for a reason relating to coronavirus.

Coronavirus – Licensing Standards Inspections 2020/21

As a result of Coronavirus and following Government advice, Licensing Standards officers will not carry out physical inspections of licensed premises for the foreseeable future.   Those premises scheduled for a physical inspection will be contacted by telephone.

Licensing Board Meetings Dates 2020

Licensing Board Dates 2020

NB. These dates may be subject to cancellation/change as a result of Coronavirus.

That’s it for now

Do you need more information?  Or maybe you would like a licensing topic included in the next edition, or, if you are having difficulty opening any of the links - contact us.      

Legal Advice

Licensing standards does not provide legal advice or opinion and the above information should not be considered such.  Any legal advice or opinion on licensing matters should be obtained from a licensing solicitor.