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29 September 2020 | Comment | Article by Martin Jones

UPDATED: Alcohol licensed premises (Wales)

Updated 9 November 2020

With effect from 00:01 on Monday 9 November 2020 new national rules came into force in Wales following the end of the firebreak.

Read below for information specific to alcohol licensed premises in Wales:

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes (licensed)

  • walk-ins should be kept to a minimum;
  • pre-booking is advisable with details of all members of the group being taken on booking and identity verified upon arrival;
  • access – all access should be via a controlled point of access, where proof of identity and proof of address can be verified (1. for track and trace purposes, 2. to confirm that larger groups are all from a single household and, 3. if your premises lies close to the Wales/England border, to confirm that customers are resident in Wales). NB – the premises must take reasonable steps to ensure that contact details provided by customers are correct for track and trace purposes;
  • table service only (including premises who only serve alcohol) – customers must remain seated when ordering, being served and consuming food and drink;
  • time limits – each group of customers should be given a time limit, for example, the group may have a table for no more than 2 hours;
  • physical distancing measures should be applied, such as tables being spaced out;
  • a maximum of up to 4 people from different households (not including any children aged under 11) are permitted to socialise;
  • larger single households are permitted provided the group gives proof of address;
  • face coverings must be worn by all staff and customers (other than when seated to eat or drink), unless the person is under 11 years of age or has a reasonable excuse;
  • there will be no live music and recorded music should be limited to background music only
  • Sales of alcohol are not permitted between 10pm and 6am and premises licensed for the sale of alcohol must close by 10:20 pm;
  • Licensed premises can offer takeaway or delivery services after 10 pm but this must not include the takeaway or delivery sale of alcohol;


Nightclubs are currently still not permitted to open.

Off-licences (including supermarkets)

  • Off licences (including supermarkets) must also stop selling alcohol at 10 pm this includes deliveries of alcohol after 10 pm (via, a delivery app, for example).


  • Hotel restaurants and bars are now permitted to open, following the guidance set out for restaurants and bars, above
  • Room service can be provided after 10 pm but not including alcohol

If you have any specific questions, please get in touch with us by using the contact form on our regulatory page.

Updated 21 October 2020

With effect from 6 pm Friday 23 October 2020 and until 9 November 2020 (the firebreak period) so far as alcohol licensed premises in Wales are concerned the following rules apply:

Pubs, restaurants and cafes

  • All pubs, restaurants and cafes (including beer gardens/outdoor seating areas) must close during the firebreak period.
  • These premises are allowed to provide takeaway service only (by delivery or collection) – bearing in mind that you can only provide takeaway alcohol if your licence permits off-sales.
  • Physical distancing rules apply to takeaway service and staff and customers must wear face coverings
  • No food or drink may be consumed on the premises whatsoever


Nightclubs are currently still not permitted to open.


All hotels must close during the firebreak period unless specifically requested to provide services by Welsh Government or a Local Authority, such as for the provision of emergency accommodation.

After the firebreak period

Following the end of the firebreak, a new set of national rules will be announced covering how people can meet and how the public sector and businesses should operate.

If you have any specific questions, please get in touch with us by using the contact form on our regulatory page.

Updated 2 October 2020

The current (29 September 2020) state of play so far as alcohol licensed premises in Wales(excluding nightclubs) are concerned is as follows:

On licensed premises

  • All alcohol sales must be by table service only;
  • All sales of alcohol must stop at 10pm and the venue must close by 10.20pm;
  • Food and drink must only be consumed at tables;
  • Physical distancing of tables must occur;
  • The proprietor must take contact details for track and trace purposes (to assist with this you can now create a QR code for your premises via https://www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster, which can be displayed at the property and customers should be encouraged to download the NHS Covid-19 app and scan the code to “check-in” which makes track and trace simpler);
  • There must be no live music and any TV broadcasts must be kept to a low volume; and
  • Face coverings must be worn in areas where customers are not seated (e.g. on the way to and from the toilet or on the way in and out of a smoking area).

Please remember that if your venue is in an area subject to local restrictions, you should also ensure that customers are from one household only (the extended household provision has been suspended in areas of local restriction). Areas currently subject to local restrictions are:

  • Blaenau Gwent County Borough;
  • Bridgend County Borough;
  • Caerphilly County;
  • Cardiff Council;
  • Conwy County Borough Council;
  • Denbighshire County Council;
  • Flintshire County Council;
  • Llanelli;
  • Merthyr Tydfil County Borough;
  • Neath Port Talbot County Borough;
  • Newport Council;
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf;
  • Swansea Council;
  • Torfaen County Borough;
  • Vale of Glamorgan; and
  • Wrexham County Borough Council

Off licensed premises

Off-licences, including supermarkets, must also stop selling alcohol at 10pm.

If you have any specific questions, please get in touch with us by using the contact form on our regulatory page.

Author bio

Martin Jones


As the Head of the Regulatory Department, Martin acts in a wide-range of regulatory crime and professional regulation matters. Martin has built up over 20 years of experience and a wealth of specialist knowledge.

He leads the firm’s cross-departmental alcohol and gaming licensing teams. Additionally Martin manages the teams providing a range of outsourced services to local authorities, including court representation of local authorities Adult and Children’s Services Departments.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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