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Keeping Patrons Safe this Halloween

Keeping Patrons Safe this Halloween

Halloween is a great opportunity for pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants to enjoy fun time with customers who may want to celebrate in ghoulish costumes, masks and wacky make-up.

Whilst licensees and managers enjoy this timely and welcome boost to their income on the last weekend of October, they should be ready to brief their staff on how best to keep customers safe.

The Licensing SAVI top tips for patron safety at Halloween are:

  • Check Premises Licence conditions to ensure plans are compliant, especially when considering using space differently such as outside areas which may not have been used before; and submit Temporary Event Notices where necessary as early as possible

  • Review your policies and risk assessments to ensure they are fit for purpose

  • Record changes to operating practices in risk assessments and audit trails

  • Ensure staff are wearing branded uniforms/badges so customers know who to ask for assistance

  • Consider how you will facilitate queues outside your venue or large numbers arriving together – review your entry/exit plans

  • Remind staff of 21/25 age-identification schemes, especially as Halloween costumes and make-up could make under-age teenagers look older

  • Use polycarbonate or similar drinking vessels, decant any bottles to reduce risk of injury or harm, and ask staff to clear rubbish quickly and remove to secure storage

  • Run sensible drinking promotions and make free water available

  • Encourage staff to be on the look-out for drink spiking, monitor unattended drinks and provide immediate assistance to customers feeling dizzy, disorientated or showing signs of intoxication; consider signage warning not to leave drinks unattended (free resources available here)

  • Brief staff on the ‘Ask for Angela’ campaign to assist customers who feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened by discreetly asking staff for ‘Angela’– a code-word that says a customer needs help, such as by re-uniting them with a friend, seeing them to a taxi, or by calling venue security and/or the police

  • Remind staff it is an offence to serve a drunk person (or on behalf of a drunk person)

  • Display numbers of reputable taxi companies and signpost customers via well-lit routes to nearby transport hubs. Consider your dispersal plans when everyone leaves at the same time

  • When decorating the venue for Halloween use battery-operated candles or glow sticks for example in carved pumpkins – do not use open flames

  • Check smoke alarms are working and keep decorations clear of exits to allow for escape in emergency

  • Check staff know emergency procedures.

By following the above guidance, your staff and customers can enjoy a safer socialising experience this Halloween.