Pubs 'should not host karaoke'

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Government clarification: pubs have been advised they should not be hosting karaoke events just yet.
Government clarification: pubs have been advised they should not be hosting karaoke events just yet.

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Pubs should still not host karaoke events amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has advised.

Karaoke and open mic nights have been traditional footfall boosters for pubs but it may be a while before they can become a regular feature of a night-out again.

The Morning Advertiser’s (MA)​ readers had previously asked whether such events were allowed at their venues amid the ongoing pandemic.

In response, a Government spokesperson said: “In order to keep people safe and control the virus, we are advising that pubs should not host karaoke. 

“Based on the most up to date scientific advice, singing can increase the risk of transmitting the virus, particularly in poorly ventilated spaces,” the spokesperson added.

The BEIS department said it was keeping the policy under constant review.

Transmission risks

Pubs have been encouraged to mitigate the risk of aerosol transmission of coronavirus by not playing loud music or broadcasts, where customers may have to shout to be heard by others. 

Customers should also be discouraged from singing along to music or shouting at sports broadcasts, guidance for hospitality states.

The Government’s guidance document Keeping workers and customers safe during coronavirus (COVID-19) in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services​ contains a section on Entertainment.

It states: “All venues should ensure that steps are taken to mitigate the increased risk of virus transmission associated with aerosol production from raised voices, such as when speaking loudly or singing loudly, particularly in confined and poorly ventilated spaces. This includes, but is not limited to, lowering the volume of background music, and refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, particularly if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult. 

“Evidence on the most effective steps that can be taken to limit the transmission of the virus continues to be regularly reviewed. This guidance may be updated in the future in response to changing scientific understanding.”

Scottish pubs were told last month they could not play any background music or broadcast, given the virus risk. Operators said they could be trusted to manage sound levels and called for this policy to be appealed. 

Strict guidance

Guidance on hosting performances - which includes social distancing requirements - has also meant just a select few venues across the country have been able to restart live music gigs.

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