Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for licensed premises

The disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) has been difficult for many businesses, especially licensed premises. To help support you through this period we have put together the following advice and guidance which you may find useful.

You can also read more about the current restrictions and other support available for businesses on our Coronavirus (COVID-19) pages. 

If you need further help regarding financial support please contact Enterprising Barnsley. For all other enquiries please email

Business contingency planning

Cut backs

  • Start by looking at your budgets and immediately cutting out any unnecessary spending. This should be your first port of call.
  • In your planning, prepare for four different scenarios:
    • 100% closure for four weeks
    • 100% closure for eight weeks
    • Staying open for takeaway and delivery for four to eight weeks
    • Re-opening at 50% capacity
  • Part of your planning should involve thinning as many overheads as possible by reviewing rotas and checking staff contracts. If they contain lay-off clauses, these can be utilised, and non-profitable hours and days can be cut.
  • Communicate with your staff as fully as you can; they'll be impacted by the changes to their hours and pay.

Human resources

  • Make sure your HR files are up-to-date with staff contact details and that emergency contact numbers are correct. Check you have a record of any staff health issues on file.
  • Check managers know how to spot symptoms of coronavirus and are clear on any relevant processes. For example, sickness reporting, sick pay and procedures, in case someone in the workplace develops the virus.
  • Plan for staff absences; current suggestions indicate that a fifth of your workforce could be off ill at any time.
  • Keep up to date with advice on the ACAS coronavirus advice and GOV.UK coronavirus websites.
  • Provide clear advice so that any employee presenting with symptoms knows what to do immediately. Have a designated staff member to report any COVID-19 related absences to.

Staff welfare


Make sure staff are informed of your plans. If you're going to close your business temporarily, give them as much notice as possible.


For guidance on managing staff through COVID-19, follow ACAS coronavirus advice and the Public Health England coronavirus action plan for the most up-to-date and reliable advice.

Postponing meetings

Defer any non-essential meetings, such as appointments with suppliers, staff meetings or team building events. It is also worth considering cancelling staff attendance of planned conferences or large events.

Sick pay

Advise staff of your sick pay policy and what they are entitled to. Remember, this may vary from your normal policy, based on the additional government support you may be entitled to.

Mental health support

We all have mental health just like we have physical health, and it’s important that we take steps to look after it. 

Learn more about how to get help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Business crime, property safety and security

  • Test your alarm. Make sure it is monitored and fully operational with an updated list of key holders given to any alarm monitoring company.
  • Identify vulnerable areas and plan to put extra protection on them.
  • Make sure security gates, bollards and fire exits are secure.
  • Make sure internal doors are locked and closed.
  • Remove any high-value items, alcohol and cash. Put a note on the outside of the premises to advise that this is the case.
  • Consider light timer switches.
  • Consider the risk of arson and remove anything flammable from view.
  • Buy a talking CCTV point, download a relevant CCTV phone app and connect it to your CCTV.

Secured by Design

This official Police Security Initiative; Secured by Design;  has details on ‘designing out crime’ and products that can help secure your premises.

Alcohol premises

The restriction on venues selling alcohol in England will not be as strict as initially thought.

Government regulations (health protection coronavirus restrictions) state alcoholic drinks can be pre-ordered from an on-trade premises by website, phone, text message, or by post for collection by the customer, as long as they don't enter the premises (paragraphs 3(a) and 3(b)).

Depending on whether you're going to fully close or remain partially open for delivery and takeaway, start to thin your stock, or if some can be returned to your supplier make arrangements to do so.

In crises, hoarding can leave your capital tied up in stock. When difficulty hits, it’s wise to have as many liquid assets as you can. Clean your lines down so you don't come back to mouldy lines.

Alternatively, here are some suggestions that may help with thinning your stock:

  • Dispose of any half-opened drinks/wine or gift them to your staff.
  • If you aren't doing a delivery model, you will have to find a way of repurposing all of your stock, as you won't want to go back to a pile of mouldy stock and a vermin infestation.
  • Check to see whether your in-date and unopened stock can be returned to your supplier and, if it can, make arrangements to do so.
  • Cut out any stock carrying or orders that aren't absolutely necessary.
  • If you can't send the stock back, then consider online auctions. Online auctioneer John Pye has announced they will consider any stock for free without obligation so you can weigh up your options. This might give you the quickest turnaround on stock sales to unlock much-needed equity to help aid cash flow.
  • In crises, hoarding is not your business friend as this can leave your capital tied up in stock. When difficulty hits, it's wise to have as many liquid assets as you can.
  • In the last lockdown CAMRA and SIBA launched Pulling Together, publicising the innovative steps pubs are taking to maintain their business. If you're offering a delivery service, or have diversified in another way, submit your details online, and they will promote what you're doing.
  • If you're a member of a Business Improvement District, contact them to see if they can promote what you're doing too.

Food premises

DIG has some useful tips on closing your food facilities, including turning off the gas to the cook line, if refrigeration units are empty cleaning and unplugging them, and turning off hot equipment.

Support from trade organisations

The following organisations have put together information and advice on the support available to the licensed trade during the outbreak:

Government and local support

There's a package of measures available to support businesses, people and public services through the period of disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Find out more about the support for businesses due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Tier guidance

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK government has introduced a set of guidelines which must be adhered to. These guidelines affect many businesses, including licensed premises (restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs).

The tier that Barnsley is in at any given time will determine the level at which licensed premises may operate. 

You can view and download tier guidance for our current tier restrictions on the GOV.UK website.