Bars, live venues, and restaurants were included in a sweeping ban from the Scottish government that prohibits background music amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
According to a report by BBC News, Scotland venues are not permitted to play background music and televisions should be muted so that patrons do not have to lean in to be heard. The proposed music ban in hospitality venues was criticized over the weekend after Nick Stewart, owner of famed Edinburgh venue Sneaky Pete’s, called it "misguided" and asserted that it would "drive people to seek music in uncontrolled environments instead, such as house parties."
"A music ban is not safer than having properly controlled background music," added Stewart, who spoke to the Edinburgh Evening News. "There should be a compromise, with background music set to a maximum of 70dB(A)." He also went on to posit that zero music is not a safer approach since people's voices are proven to make them speak more loudly, saying "the government got this exactly backwards, so we hope they will review this as soon as possible."
Announcing the measures last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the COVID-19 outbreak in Aberdeen, among others, had illuminated pubs as potential locations of spreading. Sturgeon confirmed that 198 cases and 1,032 contacts had been identified at the time. "We know that pubs and restaurants are higher risk locations for transmission of Covid and we are seeing that reflected in out data right now," she said.
Sturgeon also said that the government was kicking the tires on the possibility of allowing "acceptable decibel levels" for music and televisions in venues.