The Lowdown: music in restaurants

By Restaurant

- Last updated on GMT

Loud music singing and dancing ban in Scotland England Wales restaurants pubs bars

Related tags Music lockdown Government Legislation Restaurant Public house

Music has become the latest casualty in the fight against Coronavirus, with restaurants and pubs no longer allowed to crank up the sound system.

Music in restaurants? Don’t get me started, I can’t stand muzak and some restaurateurs have very dubious tastes
This is true but be careful what you wish for. Not content with forcing restaurants to close early, the Government has now decreed that loud music can no longer be played in restaurants – as well as singing and dancing for that matter.

What do they mean by ‘loud’ music?
Anything over 85 decibels has been outlawed in England on the basis that anything above this level of volume is considered harmful – although it’s more likely because anything louder might appeal to a fun-loving crowd hell bent on flouting social distancing rules. To put it into context, leaves rustling or whispers register at around 30 decibels and normal conversation or background music 60 decibels. A noisy restaurant (one without music) registers at around 80 to 90 decibels, so make of that what you will.

I take it all back. Thank goodness for background music
You wouldn’t be saying that if you lived in Scotland, where the ban has been extended to all background music – making Scotland the only country in the world where music cannot be played in restaurants. Presumably Scottish diners will be able to hear customers’ iPhones ring much easier because of this – and guess how loud they ring?

85 decibels?
You got it.

This all sounds like a terrible idea, if you'll excuse the pun
You’re not the first to think this. Night-Time Industries Association Scotland is so incensed by this decision that it has launched the campaign #DontStoptheMusic, encouraging people to share their favourite song of all time.

That’s easy – You’re Beautiful by James Blunt
And you say restaurateurs have dubious tastes in music.

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