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By Michael Brown

Senior Staff Writer

14 August 2020

| | 2 min read


Warning over coronavirus risk of bars’ loud music

Pubs, bars and restaurants are being warned they risk spreading coronavirus by cranking up music, forcing customers to get close or shout to be heard.

A speaker with the text 'Bars warned over Covid risk of loud music'

Government advice states that licenced premises can play recorded music, but it should be incidental and in the background as people need to be able to talk without raising their voice while social distancing.

But since the reopening of the trade some venues have looked to use their sound systems as they did before the pandemic, with Newcastle City Council now visiting landlords to ask them to turn their speakers down.

'We appreciate music adds to atmosphere'

Public safety and regulation manager Ed Foster said: “Throughout the pandemic we have been working with businesses and offering advice to help them reopen safely, and I am pleased to say that as a result we have had few problems so far.

“Within that has been guidance on noise, be that recorded music or sporting events on the TV – both of which must be kept at a low volume - or live music – which for now remains prohibited.

“We appreciate that playing music can add to the atmosphere of pubs, restaurants and cafes, and we are by no means trying to be killjoys by saying turn it off, but under the current circumstances we need licensees to be mindful of how forcing people into close proximity or making them shout over background noise is an unnecessary risk.

“We have had reports and ourselves observed instances of bars playing louder music in an attempt to add to the vibrancy of their offer, but we must speak to those involved and, along with everyone in the hospitality trade, remind them of their responsibilities to keep ambient sounds to a sensible level and help prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

Reopening and working safely

Information to support businesses to reopen and to work safely can be found on our coronavirus support for business pages.