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Article published 11/12/2020

From Saturday 12 December 2020 tourism and hospitality businesses can now play background music.

You must follow Scottish Government guidance to ensure you have the necessary arrangements in place for the safe management of low level background sound.

On 14 August 2020, statutory guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector was introduced in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Low level background music and sound in hospitality: safe management

As part of the guidance is was necessary to request, as a precautionary measure, that there should be no background sound in hospitality premises, including music and audio from televisions.

Following the introduction of this measure an expert advisory group was established to look at how low level background sound might be managed in a COVID safe manner that did not interfere with speech intelligibility or cause increased vocal effort.

The advisory group, comprising independent and industry acoustic experts, government and environmental health officials, and trade representatives, has developed guidance on how this can be achieved.

This guidance should be used by all premises to ensure they have in place the necessary arrangements for the safe management of low level background sound.

Scottish Government guidance covers

  • Risk assessment and method statement
  • Background audio level setting exercise – method and what you should do as an operator
  • Training and customer Information
  • Resolving disputes
  • Additional considerations
  • How to tell if background sound is too loud
  • Measuring sound levels
  • Managing background sound safely
  • Live music
  • Jukeboxes
  • If customers ask for the volume to be turned up
  • Discos, karaoke and other singing/dancing activities
  • Live sport broadcasts on TV
  • If customers start singing along to music or shouting in response to TV broadcasts of e.g. sport
  • Customers with hearing impairments
  • Background music and your premises licence
  • Outdoor seating areas

Guidance is effective from Saturday 12 December 2020.

Take a look at the Scottish Government guidance.