Update: Change to outdoor area COVID-19 temporary policies

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) previously implemented policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic allowing existing licensees to apply for temporary limited licences to allow supply of liquor for consumption in outdoor areas. Separate policies applied to public outdoor areas and privately-owned outdoor areas.

The licences for public areas will remain in effect until the expiry of the state of emergency period (estimated December 2021) or the expiry of the permission to use the public outdoor space (i.e Council permit). The pressing issue to date has been that temporary licences for private areas were subject to an expiry date of 30 June 2021.

The VCGLR has today announced an update to these policies, which will operate as follows:

1. Public outdoor areas

Public outdoor area temporary limited licences will continue to include a condition that the licence will expire when the temporary permission by local council to use the outdoor area expires.

The updated VCGLR policy states that the VCGLR will continue operation of these licences until three months after the expiry of the COVID-19 state of emergency, expected to be 15 March 2022.

2. Privately-owned outdoor areas

Current temporary limited licences will expire on 30 June 2021.

Under the updated policy, licensees who hold an outdoor area temporary limited licence will be eligible to apply for a new temporary limited licence, which will expire three (3) months after the grant of the licence – that is, the updated policy will allow an extension until 30 September 2021, upon application. These applications will be processed generally within three (3) business days.

Licensees who wish to apply for a temporary limited licence to supply liquor in the privately-owned outdoor area beyond 30 September 2021 will need to make a second application to the VCGLR. That application will be required to be publicly displayed for 28 days and will be served on local council and Victoria Police. These applications may be subject to objections from referral authorities or the general public. Applications made in this way may take at least two (2) months to be processed by the VCGLR and licenses granted through this process will expire on 15 March 2022, being three months after the latest legislated end date of the COVID-19 state of emergency.  

The VCGLR has advised that where a licensee wishes to apply for a temporary limited licence for more than three (3) months, two (2) separate applications should be made at the same time. The first will be processed within three (3) business days and the latter will be considered in due course, likely within 2 months.

General Conditions

There is no change to the ‘general’ conditions that will apply to the extended licences, which include food being available at all times, and the requirement that temporary licences will generally not exceed 11:00pm on any given day.

Additional applications are subject to a fee of $114.60 (subject to increase from 1 July 2021 in accordance with CPI). Further details of particular application requirements are on the VCGLR website.

Any licensees who continue to utilise outdoor temporary licences should immediately apply to extend their licences at least for the first three (3) month extension.

Please contact our office if you have questions or require assistance with any extension to your temporary licensed area.  

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.