Newcastle Council will warn local bars, pubs and restaurants about the risk of spreading COVID-19 by playing loud music in venues.

Government advice currently allows hospitality venues to play recorded, background music so people don’t have to raise their voices or move closer to communicate whilst social distancing. This includes limiting noise from TVs when broadcasting sports events.

Following the re-opening of bars, pubs and restaurants in the city last month, some venues have continued to play music at a high volume similar to pre-lockdown levels.

Newcastle City Council will now visit landlords and ask them to turn their music down to a suitable level to ensure customer safety and to adhere to government guidelines.

Public safety and regulation manager Ed Foster said: “Throughout the pandemic, we have been working with businesses and offering advice to help them reopen safely, and I am pleased to say that as a result, we have had few problems so far.

“Within that has been guidance on noise, be that recorded music or sporting events on the TV – both of which must be kept at a low volume – or live music – which for now remains prohibited.

“We appreciate that playing music can add to the atmosphere of pubs, restaurants and cafes, and we are by no means trying to be killjoys by saying turn it off, but under the current circumstances we need licensees to be mindful of how forcing people into close proximity or making them shout over background noise is an unnecessary risk.

“We have had reports and ourselves observed instances of bars playing louder music in an attempt to add to the vibrancy of their offer, but we must speak to those involved and, along with everyone in the hospitality trade, remind them of their responsibilities to keep ambient sounds to a sensible level and help prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

Information to support businesses to reopen and to work safely can be found on the Newcastle City Council website at www.newcastle.gov.uk/ournewcastlerecovery