Salons are being warned that offering complimentary alcohol to clients without a licence could cost them up to £20,000.
The message came from Staffordshire Police, who issued the warning after its licensing team discovered multiple beauty and hair salons in the county offering free glasses of wine or champagne as part of treatment packages.
The force said serving clients free alcoholic drinks without the correct licence is illegal, and could result in a fine of up for £20,000 for the business. Salon owners could even face six months in prison if caught.
Addressing salons in the county, Inspector Paul Prenter, head of Staffordshire Police’s licensing department, said: “Providing alcohol to customers without a licence is a breach of section 136 of the Licensing Act and is a criminal offence. Please ensure your business is not giving alcohol to customers.
“Alternatively if you do wish to continue the practice, please contact your local council.”
It’s clear there’s widespread confusion around the issue. PB reader Kelly Phillips, owner of Colours Hair and Nails, asked: “What if the client brings their own alcohol?” while Clare Rogers, owner of The Treatment Rooms in Brighton, wondered: “Interesting to see how BYO in unlicensed restaurants works?”
Policies on businesses serving complimentary alcohol to clients vary across local authorities, so contact your council to be sure you’re not breaking the law.