Covid in Scotland: Pub ban on background music to be lifted

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image captionStaff must set sound levels within pubs and restaurants to "acceptable levels"

Hospitality venues will be allowed to play low-level background music again from this Saturday, the Scottish government has confirmed.

Pubs and restaurants have been banned from playing music and televisions have been muted since 14 August.

The move was to avoid people having to talk loudly over recorded or live music - increasing the risk of Covid-infected saliva being spread in the air.

It will cover sound and entertainment systems - including jukeboxes and sporting events on TV - but not karaoke machines or live performances.

The relaxation of the rules over background music comes as 11 areas of Scotland prepare to move from level four restrictions to level three.

It means a maximum of six people from two households will again be able to meet in hospitality venues, either indoors or outdoors. However, no alcohol can be sold, and premises must close at 18:00.

The background music guidance says customers should not have to "significantly raise voices to communicate with other customers or staff".

Sound systems must be pre-set to "acceptable levels" and background music must not "compete" with TV commentary.

Singing along to music and "shouting in response to TV broadcasts" is not to be permitted.

The government said all other mitigating measures for hospitality - including 1m physical distancing for customers - remain in place.

The Night Time Industries Association Scotland welcomed the announcement and insisted there had never been evidence to support the theory that low-level music increased the transmission of Covid-19.

Its chairman, Mike Grieve, said: "We are very happy that the Scottish government has decided to abandon this rule.

"As a group, we have worked incredibly hard to bring attention to this non-logical rule, which has been the kiss of death for so many premises."

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