Covid 19 - What you need to know - Bans on music over 85 dB, customer singing in groups and dancing.
On 28th September, regulations amending the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Obligations of Hospitality Undertakings) (England) Regulations 2020 (which itself became law on 18th September) came into force.
Amongst the new regulations are bans on recorded music being played on the premises over 85 dB(A), singing (by customers in groups of more than six) and dancing (by customers), in public houses, cafés, restaurants or bars (including a bar in a hotel or members’ club).
An exemption to the dancing ban is made for couples only at their own wedding reception or civil partnership ceremony. In simple terms the first dance has been protected but no one else may join in.
The Regulations do not currently specify whether 85dB(A) is intended to be an average over time or an absolute maximum (if the latter, a breach of the regulations would occur if the prescribed level was exceeded for even an instant).
Further regulations relating to information to be posted in the venue relating to face mask requirements is also included in addition to further requirements around table bookings are included in the new regulations.
Commenting on the introductions on these new measures Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:
“The cumulative impact of layering restriction upon restriction is making it harder for pubs to survive. We have already seen a total ban on music in pubs in Scotland, which has seen trade plummet there.
“The sector has not been consulted on the evidence base for these extra restrictions on music. We are acutely aware of our responsibilities as businesses, but the Government is in danger of cutting off any chance of a recovery. Instead of placing further restrictions on pubs, we need the Government to focus on putting a proper support package in place to help our sector survive the winter.”
McClarkin’s comments echo the concerns voiced by many backbench MPs who are reportedly increasingly concerned by the constant stream of regulations and revisions to regulations which being issued by the Government without, in their view, proper consultation or scrutiny. The above regulations, in common with many others, carry with them the threat of fixed penalty notices and potential criminal prosecution.