IMPORTANT NOTICE: Stage 2 and 3 restrictions are currently still in place. For more information, see:COVID-19 information for licensees
Licensed venues that supply alcohol for consumption on-site are required to provide free drinking water.
Due to current restrictions in place for licensed premises, self-serve free drinking water stations should be removed from public use. Free drinking water must still be made available via table service in accordance with the coronavirus restriction guidelines.
Penalties can apply for licensees who fail to provide free drinking water for patrons.
More information and helpful tips about food and drink facilities for venues reopening is available on the DHHS website, see: Reopening of cafes, restaurants and other food and drink facilities FAQs
For more coronavirus information for licensees, see: Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for licensees
The responsibility is on the licensee to ensure adequate facilities are provided. Substantial fines may apply for non-compliance.
Licensees may apply to the VCGLR for an exemption to their mandatory requirement to provide free water.
The VCGLR has discretion over which applications are approved, and determines each application on its own merits. However, under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, the VCGLR must consider:
For example, an exemption may be granted where the licensee doesn’t have access to mains water and the lack of free drinking water won’t lead to alcohol-related harm.
If you wish to apply for an exemption, you can download the application form Exemption from the requirement to provide free drinking water at licensed premises (PDF, 124.48 KB).
A poster is available for licensees to download that advises patrons that the venue provides free water. Download the Free water available poster (PDF, 522.57 KB) to display in your venue. If you would like a copy for digital displays, download the high resolution version (PDF, 522.57 KB).
See the optional signage for licensed premises on the Print my liquor signage page for more information.
Free water is an important part of RSA. Advertise availability in your venue now.