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Legal Q&A: UEFA Euro 2020 – is singing the national anthem in a pub a Covid transmission risk?

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Legal Q&A: Is singing the national anthem considered a transmission risk? (image: Getty/Lacheev)
Legal Q&A: Is singing the national anthem considered a transmission risk? (image: Getty/Lacheev)

Related tags: Legal, Licensing, Football, Europe, Sport, Noise, coronavirus, Poppleston allen

Graeme Cushion, partner at specialist licensing solicitors Poppleston Allen, answers some last-minute licensing questions ahead of this summer’s UEFA Euro 2020.

Q – How do rules around ordering refreshments and social mixing apply to organised viewing outside of a pub, bar or restaurant environment? (e.g. in a fan park or open-air viewing event, if subject to licensing rules)

A – For games shown before 21 June 2021 where they are watched in England

In England, the social distancing rules are for tables to be 2m apart, or 1m apart with mitigation (for example, barriers or screens or seats which do not face each other, or where there are other measures to limit the risk of transmission) and these rules still apply to organised viewing in an area such as a fan park or open-air viewing event.   

Unless the area could be categorised as a “cinema or theatre”, then there will still need to be table service provided for food and drink if alcohol is being sold (which presumably it would be) so customers must order at the table whilst seated, have the food and drink brought to their table whilst they are seated, and then must consume the food and drink whilst seated. 

If no alcohol were being sold, then customers could order at a bar or counter but would need to remain seated whilst consuming the food and drink.

Payment can be taken at a bar or counter where payment at the table is not possible.

For any screening of the Euros, those organising it will need to make sure bookings are not accepted for more than six indoors, and no persons are admitted to the premises in a group of more than six persons indoors, unless one of the exceptions applies, or 30 outdoors. Operators need to make sure no person joins another group. 

A – For games shown from 21 June 2021 onwards where they are watched in England

Assuming that England has moved to step four of its roadmap out of lockdown, and all social distancing requirements [and the requirements] for table service etc will have fallen away, it is then up to the organiser to determine if they still wish to maintain any of the safeguards above in place pre-21 June 2021 to ensure any risk of transmission is minimised by conducting their own risk assessment. 

Q – Is singing the national anthem considered a transmission risk?​ 

A – For games shown before 21 June 2021 where they are watched in England

Like it or not, the Government guidance is in hospitality venues, which includes restaurants, pubs, bars and similar venues serving food or drink, any music should be played at a low level and is effectively at a background level to prevent any shouting, singing or dancing.   

By encouraging the national anthem to be sung by increasing the volume, then there is an increased transmission risk from louder music, when customers are being encouraged to sing along to it. I suspect our patriotism (particularly if England is doing well in the tournament) may get the better of us. 

Singing the national anthem inside while seated at your table with your group of six friends or household may be the best way to display your support of the national team. 

Outside, due to the more relaxed rules regarding wearing masks, singing may be more acceptable, but much depends on your host’s Covid risk assessment.   

A – For games shown from 21 June 2021 onwards where they are watched in England

We have yet to see any guidance, which will be published in relation to step four of the roadmap, but if the Government is true to its word, and we are free of any social distancing requirements, then one could expect the guidance to be relaxed so that music can be played at a level that does not discourage any singing and, therefore, the national anthem could be played at a level that would encourage those watching to sing along to it.  

However, again, those showing the games may decide that they will keep the volume to such a level which will reduce the transmission risk. 

Q – In a pub, bar, restaurant, will I be able to stand up and sing, and will I have to wear a mask to do this?​ 

A – For games shown before 21 June 2021 where they are watched in England

Those businesses showing games may ask you to sit down and not stand up to sing the national anthem, in order to reduce the risk of transmission, and if indoors as soon as you do stand-up you should wear a face mask, which is going to make singing somewhat more awkward if stood up. 

A – For games shown from 21 June 2021 onwards where they are watched in England

Again, we have yet to see any guidance which will be published by the Government in relation to step four of the roadmap, but we could expect that if all social distancing is relaxed you will be able to stand up to sing, but we will have to wait to see whether or not the requirements to wear a face mask are also relaxed.

For any legal enquiries please visit Poppleston Allen's ​​website​​

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