Further regulations for the hospitality industry issued by Scottish Government on Enforcement Powers.
The latest Regulations published by the Scottish Government give local authorities sweeping new powers to address the Coronavirus pandemic “by proportionate means”, fulfilling the First Minister’s pledge to step up enforcement of the statutory guidance for the hospitality sector.
Authorities may now issue “directions”imposing “prohibitions, requirements or restrictions”in relation to specified premises, for the purposes of:-
- Closing the premises.
- Restricting entry to the premises.
- Securing restrictions in relation to the location of persons on the premises.
In particular, “a prohibition, requirement or restriction”can relate to:-
- The number of persons on the premises.
- The purpose for which a person is on the premises.
- The facilities in the premises.
A “direction”has to state:-
- The date and time on which the measure comes into effect.
- The date and time when it will cease to have effect – which must be no later than 21 days after it comes into effect.
- Details of a right of appeal.
There are also provisions requiring the local authority to take “reasonable steps”to give advance notice of the direction to:-
- A person carrying on business at the premises.
- If different, the owner or occupier of the premises.
Further provisions relate to events and access to public outdoor spaces.
The directions are enforceable by a designated local authority officer (likely to be an environmental health officer) and the police. A breach will lead to the issue of a fixed penalty notice which could reach £960 for repeated offences. More materially, it’s likely that breaches will be reported to Licensing Boards and result in premises licence reviews. While there is a right to appeal, the way in which that might be exercised is subject to uncertainties which trade lawyers have raised with the Scottish Government.
The Regulations were published late last week and came into effect on Friday. As has become normal practise recently these regulations came into being with almost no advanced warning and with no official guidance. The SLTA has sought the urgent issue of Government guidance on the operation of these regulations and will advise members once these have been published.
The SLTA acknowledges the assistance of Jack Cummings from Scottish Licensing Law and Practice (SLLP) for providing this information.
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