Operations & Compliance (COVID-19)

We have identified some scenarios where importers or distributors without a retail licence might be looking for solution to sell their products direct to consumers.

If you have premises but don’t have a premises licence you have the option of applying for a ‘temporary event notice’ (TEN) from your local council.  A TEN could be used to enable you to sell your products from a premise that you own or a premise that you don’t own but have been granted permission to use.

Members can access the full guidance here.

The WSTA has also published guidance for suppliers new to making retail supplies as a result of COVID-19.


HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been issuing a regular Stakeholder Digest outlining the various packages of support and other easements available to help people during the coronavirus outbreak.

The latest update includes full details of where businesses can find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus – HMRC_COVIDAssistance_Update

A summary of the rules relating to hand sanitiser, together with answers from HMRC. We are grateful to the Scotch Whisky Association for allowing us to use this document.


RASG (Retail of Alcohol Standards Group)

WSTA retail members sent a letter to the Home Office identifying the likely impact that Covid-19 will have on their ability to be fully compliant with licensing requirements. Retailers recognised that self-isolation, sickness or any imposed isolation from Government would influence all business sectors in the UK, but especially retail due to the need to ensure the continued supply of essential groceries to consumers.

The letter highlighted the fact that retailers were likely to breach certain licensing conditions to satisfy consumer demand and so RASG asked the Home Office to consider sending guidance to all local authorities in England and Wales, encouraging them to take a pragmatic view when enforcing licensing legislation – when breaches are due to the impact of the Covid-19 virus. As a result of this request Kit Malthouse MP, Minister of State for Crime and Policing at the Home Office, issued the following letter to all local authorities in England and Wales.

RASG liaised closely with the Institute of Licensing (IoL) when writing to the Home Office on the effects of Covid-19 on licensing compliance. Members may want to visit the IoL website themselves to see the work they have been doing throughout the pandemic. The Institute have published a Protocol designed to assist licensing authorities in complying with their obligations and duties under the Licensing Act 2003 during this emergency period. The protocol recognises the challenges facing both industry and regulators and promotes the continuation of the licensing system using alternative means of processing applications, encouraging compromise, and conducting hearings using remote technology. It covers applications involving alcohol, entertainment and late-night refreshment and includes a comprehensive annex covering remote hearings.  Members can view the protocol by clicking on the following link: https://www.instituteoflicensing.org/news/covid-10-licensing-issues-iol-protocol-updated-20-april-2020/.

The IoL have also published some FAQs around COVID-19 Licensing issues.

Further information which members may find useful at this time can be found through the following links: