It has been incredible to watch how the community has pulled together during the COVID-19 pandemic; for me this has been the silver lining of the last year. BrewDog is the latest organisation to offer resources to help solve the pandemic by putting forward its closed venues to help with the Covid-19 vaccinations.
It may be that others follow suit. If you are keen to assist in a similar way, you might like to consider the following points (amongst others):
- What is the current permitted use for the premises in planning terms? It may be that you put yourself in breach of planning control by using the premises as a vaccination site; albeit that some local authorities may choose to turn a blind eye to a breach of this nature. In addition, are you proposing repurposing and redeveloping the premises at any point in the future? Could this temporary use have any adverse impact on those plans?
- Are you currently benefiting from business rates relief? Will using your premises in this way impact on this relief?
- Do you currently have a loan secured against your premises? If so, have you got your lenders consent for the use of your premises as a vaccination site? Without this consent, you could put yourself in breach of your loan conditions.
- Have you spoken to your insurers to make sure that they are happy with you using your premises to administer vaccinations? It is worth doing so, to make sure you do not inadvertently invalidate the insurance policy.
- Do you have a freehold or leasehold interest in the premises? If you have a leasehold interest, have you checked your lease to make sure this proposed temporary use is permitted? If it is not, it would be worth asking the landlord to issue a consent letter to this proposed temporary use. If there is an upcoming rent review, you might also like to consider whether this temporary use could artificially inflate the rent and perhaps pre-agree with the landlord that this proposed temporary use is ignored at rent review.
It is worth taking legal advice before permitting the government / the NHS to temporarily use your premises as a vaccination site, to ensure that your kind gesture does not cause you issues further down the line. It will be lovely to watch others follow BrewDog's example.