The pandemic period has been an extreme burden on the hospitality industry. The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) in conjunction with the Victorian Government has, in addition to its previous leniency on certain liquor regulations, agreed to support licensees with the opportunity to extend their trading footprint by seeking a temporary licence to trade outdoors for the duration of the COVID-19 period.
While this, unfortunately, does not benefit Licensees who do not have access to an outdoor area, it may benefit those licensees who do have access to an outdoor area where can they fit tables and chairs to accommodate sit down patrons.
The VCGLR will allow licensees to apply for a Temporary Limited Licence (TLL) on the following conditions:
- That the Licensee has written permission from the local Council permitting the use of an outdoor area. This can be in the form of a planning permit, a footpath trading licence or a letter issued by the local Council.
- A plan that describes the boundary of the outdoor area which is endorsed by local Council as part of the permission provided.
- Specified trading hours for the outdoor area from your local Council, again as part of the written permission obtained.
The TLL must be limited by the following aspects:
- Food must be available for purchase at all times when liquor is being supplied;
- Patrons can only consume alcohol while seated;
- The licensee must have a copy of Council’s written permission available for inspection by the VCGLR or Victoria Police when requested;
- Trading hours must be the lesser of the Victorian Government’s directions or those hours permitted by local Council;
- Patron numbers will be limited to the lesser of those permitted by the Victorian Government or those permitted by local Council; and
- The TLL will expire once Council permission expires.
Licensees must be aware of the Victorian Government directions, particularly in relation to directions from the Chief Health Officer regarding restricted activities and directions.
Rigby Cooke Lawyers has already commenced applications for numerous clients, including utilising the use of car park spaces. In conjunction with a town planner, we are working on several applications to utilise available space and to seek Council permission in addition to obtaining the VCGLR TLL. In some cases, Licensees can avoid the necessity to go through public advertising to reduce the number of car park spaces.
For those licensees that already have the availability of vacant land, the benefit of the TLL is that no planning permit is required and therefore, your Council permission could be limited to a simple letter.
State Government initiatives
In addition to looking into possible changes to your liquor licence, the Victorian Government is providing support for licensed pubs, clubs, hotels, bars, restaurants and reception centres to help them survive through ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
To be eligible for a grant from this program, you must:
- Operate a licensed premises under a general, full club or on-premises liquor licence issued by the VCGLR, and
- Have premises that serve patrons and holds a Class 2 or 3 Service Sector – Certificate of Registration under the Food Act 1984 (Vic) issued by a local council.
You will need to provide your ABN or equivalent as well as your liquor licence and food Certificate of Registration. However, if your businesses is eligible for the Licensed Hospitality Business Grant, you will not be eligible for the third round of the Business Support Fund. The proposed funding is as follows:
|Eligible grant amount
|1 – 20||$15,000.00||$10,000.00|
|21 – 100||$20,000.00||$15,000.00|
|101 or more||$30,000.00||$25,000.00|
Rigby Cooke wishes all our hospitality friends the very best in their endeavours to commence trade. We strongly encourage you to consider all options available to you, including any Government assistance packages that may be accessible to assist you to get up and running again.
Our Tourism, Leisure & Hospitality team are only a phone call away if you need help or advice.
|Disclaimer: This publication contains comments of a general nature only and is provided as an information service. It is not intended to be relied upon as, nor is it a substitute for specific professional advice. No responsibility can be accepted by Rigby Cooke Lawyers or the authors for loss occasioned to any person doing anything as a result of any material in this publication.
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.
©2020 Rigby Cooke Lawyers