Updated 23 March 2020
This statement sets out the enforcement approach that Liquor & Gaming NSW will take to compliance with certain specified requirements as set out under the Liquor Act 2007 and the Liquor Regulation 2018 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Liquor & Gaming NSW recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has created an exceptional set of circumstances and will have significant impacts on the businesses we regulate. Liquor & Gaming NSW appreciates that exceptional circumstances require flexibility on the part of the regulator.
The Public Health (COVID-19 Places of Social Gathering) Order 2020 made on 23 March by the Minister for Health and Medical Research requires that pubs and registered clubs, food and drink premises, microbreweries or small distilleries with a drink on premise authorisation, and cellar doors must not be open to members of the public except where selling food or beverages for persons to consume off premises.
Not all licensed premises are authorised to sell alcohol for consumption off the premise. In these circumstances, Liquor & Gaming NSW will take a common-sense and pragmatic approach to enforcing the liquor and gaming laws. In particular, it is recognised that the risk profile of certain venues has changed and measures put in place to manage these risks are, in the current environment, largely redundant
While legislative requirements remain in force, Liquor & Gaming NSW will have regard to the unprecedented pressures on industry and take a reasonable and proportionate response to compliance.
This includes where a licensed premises, such as a restaurant, café or small bar, does not have authorisation for the sale or supply of liquor for consumption away from the premises, but wishes to provide take-away or home delivery services.
Liquor & Gaming NSW will generally take a supportive and educative approach to compliance with these requirements during this time except in cases of significant risks to patrons or the community, and will also take into consideration genuine attempts to comply with licence conditions and other requirements.
It is important to note that compliance and enforcement activity will continue, but with a primary focus on matters that pose significant risk to public safety and community wellbeing, and in particular the sale or supply of alcohol to intoxicated persons or minors. These offences are considered to be some of the most serious under the Liquor Act 2007 and attract significant penalties, up to and including a term of imprisonment.
Changes to the Liquor Regulation 2018 will be progressed to provide certainty to these arrangements. This compliance approach will remain in place until such time as changes can be made to the Liquor Regulation 2018 to formalise these arrangements, or for as long as the Public Health (COVID-19 Places of Social Gathering) Order 2020 remains in force, unless otherwise advised.
All licenced premises making take-away sales or undertaking home deliveries should have a system of controls in place to ensure that liquor is not sold to minors or to intoxicated persons. The Liquor & Gaming NSW website, www.liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au, contains more information on appropriate evidence of age and prevention of intoxication, which may assist in preparing policies and procedures and clarifying legislative obligations.
Liquor & Gaming NSW will continue to monitor the situation and engage with industry and industry representatives as appropriate.
For more information please refer to the Liquor & Gaming NSW website or the Department of Customer Service website at www.customerservice.nsw.gov.au.
Rose WebbDeputy SecretaryBetter Regulation Division
23 March 2020
Read the L&GNSW Statement of Regulatory Intent (PDF 447.9 KB)Read frequently asked questions for the liquor and gaming industries