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News
26 March 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) FAQs for the liquor and gaming industries

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt by businesses across NSW as conditions are imposed to help slow the spread of the virus.

At Liquor & Gaming NSW, we’re engaging closely with our stakeholders and customers to monitor the effect COVID-19 is having on the liquor and gaming industries and we will continue to offer as much support and guidance as we can.

This page will be updated regularly as announcements are made about COVID-19 that affect the liquor and gaming industries. We encourage you to check back on a regular basis for more information.

Liquor industry

Takeaway and home delivery liquor sales

Small bars and other licensed restaurants and cafes are now able to sell takeaway alcohol and deliveries.

This has been made possible by the Deputy Secretary of the Better Regulation Division of the Department of Customer Service issuing a Statement of Regulatory Intent that outlines how compliance with certain requirements will be approached.

The statement indicates that a flexible approach will be taken where licensed venues wish to provide home delivery or takeaway services, even where those liquor licences do not authorise the sale of alcohol for consumption away from the premises.

You can only sell takeaway liquor and home deliver liquor if you have a current liquor licence – unlicensed venues are not able to sell liquor under any circumstances.

No. Unlicensed venues are not able to sell liquor under any circumstances. The sale of liquor without a licence is an offence that carries a maximum penalty of $11,000 in fines, 12 months imprisonment, or both.

Yes, you can only sell liquor during the existing trading hours on your licence.

However, if you have trading hours which extend beyond midnight you cannot sell liquor after midnight (or 11pm on Sundays). This is because bottle shops and hotels must cease takeaway and home delivery liquor sales at these times.

The new arrangements came into force on 23 March 2020 and apply while the shutdown order is in force under the Public Health Act 2010.

There are no explicit limits on the volume of alcohol that can be supplied for consumption away from the licensed premise. However, formal regulations will be put in place should examples of inappropriate practices emerge.

There are no restrictions on the type of alcohol. Pre-mixed cocktails are permitted.

Yes, compliance and enforcement action will be considered where risks to the community arise.

In particular, we will be monitoring and will take action in relation to:

  • the sale or supply of alcohol to intoxicated persons, and/or
  • sale or supply of alcohol to minors.

These are serious offences and will attract the strong, regulatory attention of Liquor & Gaming NSW.

See our website for more information on appropriate evidence of age and prevention of intoxication, which may assist in preparing policies and procedures and clarifying legislative obligations.

The Statement of Regulatory Intent applies to regulatory action under the Liquor Act 2007 only. If you have any conditions on your development consent restricting sales of liquor for consumption off-premises you need to speak with your local development consent authority.

The licensee and any staff involved in the sale or supply of liquor must have a NSW RSA competency.

Licensees may also be required to hold a licensee competency – licensees should check their training requirements by using the Licensee training selector tool.

The licensee and any staff involved in the sale or supply of liquor must have a NSW RSA competency.

If the licensee is an organisation and the appointed manager leaves the position or is stood down, a new approved manager with appropriate qualification should be appointed if the licence is trading.

No, however you should be aware of and comply with your Responsible Service of Alcohol obligations. We will be monitoring and take action in relation to:

  • the sale or supply of alcohol to intoxicated persons, and/or
  • sale or supply of alcohol to minors

See our website for more information on appropriate evidence of age and prevention of intoxication, which may assist in preparing policies and procedures and clarifying legislative obligations.

The full text of the Statement of Regulatory Intent is located on our website www.liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au

A hotel licence already permits the sale and supply of alcohol on and away from the premises, including delivery. Existing liquor licence conditions and trading hours continue to apply to packaged liquor and hotel licences including existing regulatory obligations under the Liquor Act 2007.

Yes, you can sell takeaway liquor and home deliver liquor if you have a current liquor licence for your accommodation/conference centre. Unlicensed venues are not able to sell liquor under any circumstances.

Yes, you can sell takeaway liquor and home deliver liquor if you have a current liquor licence for your bar.

Unlicensed venues are not able to sell liquor under any circumstances.

Regulations

We have published a Statement of Regulatory Intent that outlines the approach we are taking.

NSW Police been informed of this approach and we are working closely with them to encourage a consistent approach.

Compliance and enforcement activity, including investigations, will continue. However, we will take into account a venue’s circumstances and take a common sense approach to complaints and other issues being investigated.

Our Statement of Regulatory Intent provides more information about our approach.

Clubs

Clubs need to follow important government advice on social distancing.

There are alternatives to meeting in person, such as teleconferences using tools like Skype or Zoom, which would comply with these guidelines and allow club boards to hold meetings as usual.

Liquor & Gaming NSW recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has created an exceptional set of circumstances and appreciates that exceptional circumstances require flexibility on the part of the regulator.

If a club or ClubsNSW have questions about a specific requirement, please contact Liquor & Gaming NSW.

Clubs need to follow important government advice on social distancing.

There are alternatives to meeting in person, such as teleconferences using tools like Skype or Zoom, which could allow clubs to hold AGM meetings as usual.

The rules governing how members can vote and if AGMs can be deferred are usually outlined in a club's constitution.

Clubs will need to consider this under their constitution.

If a club did defer elections, it would be sensible for the existing board to stay on in caretaker mode until elections can be run. But this depends on a club's constitution, it is not required under the Registered Clubs Act.

If a casual vacancy arises on a club’s board mid-term (for example, if a director is affected by COVID-19) the club may appoint someone to fill that vacancy until the position is voted on at the next election. The decision to fill this position requires a majority vote by the club’s board unless the club’s constitution provides otherwise.

Yes. However, government advice on what non-essential activities and businesses must close to the public might change.

Visit the NSW Government website for the latest information.

Fees and refunds

If you have applied for or been granted a limited licence for an event that has been (or is likely to be) postponed or cancelled because of COVID-19, you can withdraw your application or cancel your limited licence. If you choose to do this your application fee will be refunded in full.

We have contacted licensees in this situation directly by phone and email, if we’ve missed you please email functions.notifications@liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au.

Gaming machines

Yes. Tabcorp are offering industry support by suspending CMS Monitoring fees for gaming machines for a month from 23 March 2020, in light of venue shutdowns.

Tabcorp will continue to review the situation monthly and the fee suspension may be extended. If so, this webpage will be updated.

While venues may choose to turn off their gaming machines during current circumstances, it is recommended core CMS equipment (site controller and routers) should remain on.

Venues who are considering shutting down their gaming machines for an extended period should first consult their manufacturer, as there may be other considerations that could impact the performance or longevity of machines. For example, some manufacturers recommended powering on all gaming machines for a minimum of 4 hours every few days or per week to allow back-up batteries to maintain charge.

If possible, for monitoring and integrity purposes, on the last day of the assessment quarter (any time between 10am – midnight) venues should:

  • turn on all gaming machines, progressive controllers / jackpot-systems
  • leave them all running together for half an hour.

This will help the gaming machine reconciliation and assessment system process.

Hotel end of quarter dates in 2020 are 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December.

Club end of quarter dates in 2020 are 30 May, 31 August and 30 November.

More information