A Pāpāmoa bar has been forced to temporarily shut its doors after operating without a liquor licence for three months.
The closure was described as an "unfortunate situation".
The Pap House was sent a reminder of the upcoming licence expiration on January 4 and the liquor licence expired on February 15. However, it kept trading until last week.
The council only became aware of the expired licence on May 24, when the licensee realised what had happened, Tauranga City Council manager of environmental regulation Nigel McGlone said.
In a post on Facebook on May 26 Pap House said it would close for the rest of last week with plans to reopen today .
It will temporarily trade as the Pap House Cafe, as it works towards applying for a new licence.
In the meantime, it cannot sell or supply alcohol.
A licence cannot be renewed nor can a temporary licence be given because these require a "live" underlying licence to exist and, in this case, there is none, McGlone said.
"If the licensee had submitted a renewal application before the licence expired, the licensee would have been able to continue trading while that application was being processed and a renewal licence issued."
A new licence application and a renewal application are both subject to public notification, which takes about 15 working days. Any public objections would add to the timeline for the application processing. Reports from the council licensing inspector, police and medical officer of health will also be needed and in the case of objections or opposition, a hearing date is usually set to allow for these views to be heard.
McGlone said the council was not aware of any existing issues with Pap House and it was not contemplating charges or any action before the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority.
"[The council] understands the unfortunate situation that the licensee finds themselves in and the distress and concern that the licensee, their staff and their patrons may be experiencing," McGlone said.
"It is a hard lesson for the licensee to learn but there is still a legislated process required to issue a new licence and some legislative timeframes that are required to be satisfied."
McGlone said the application could not be "fast-tracked" but the council would try to have the process completed as soon as possible, pending reports and potential public objections.
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He said it was the sole responsibility of a licensee to maintain and protect their licence to sell alcohol including ensuring the premise was properly managed, intoxication did not happen on the premises and alcohol was not sold to minors.
The Pap House owner declined to talk.
On its Facebook page on Thursday, Pap House stated that it had been hit with a range of issues from staff shortages, Covid-19 and mandate restrictions "which we are finally experiencing the major effects of".
"Without going into too much detail, we've decided to shut down for the rest of the week to give our staff some well deserved time off.
"As of next week, Tuesday, the Pap House will be *very temporarily* relaunching as the Pap House Cafe, to give us the time to organise ourselves, so we can come back to you in full swing, without any hiccups."
The Pap House asked anyone who wanted to support them during "this challenging time" to buy gift cards.