Music louder than 85 decibels now illegal in UK bars and restaurants 3 weeks ago

Music louder than 85 decibels now illegal in UK bars and restaurants

'What? I can't hear yo.... Mate, I can't hear you. Speak up.'

Does this sound vaguely familiar? Of course it does. We've all been there, down the pub, trying with all of our might to discern what a friend is saying over the sound of the (mostly awful) music playing in the background.

Pubs like to play loud music, often too loud, but guess what? That's now illegal to do in the United Kingdom. I know. I never expected to write 'noise is illegal here' either but this is where we are.

The new regulation appears in section 1C into the 'The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Obligations of Undertakings) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020'.

Now, while I'm sure we've all already read it from start to finish, here's what it says on noise levels in premises:


(1C) A person responsible for carrying on a business of a public house, café, restaurant or bar (including a bar in a hotel or members’ club) must, during the emergency period, ensure that no music is played on the premises which exceeds 85db(A) when measured at the source of the music.

(1D) Paragraph (1C) does not apply to any performance of live music.

(1E) In paragraph (1C), “db(A)” means A-weighted decibels.”.

So here are the takeaways, music over 85 decibels is now illegal. For reference, a vacuum cleaner is 70db and an alarm clock is said to be around 80.

However, this doesn't apply for some reason to "any performance of live music". Now, perhaps, this has been added to ensure that the arts aren't entirely killed off by coronavirus, or maybe because Jacob Rees-Mogg belts out a cracking rendition of 'Por ti volare' down The Jubilee room after a few too many crème de menthe.

In all likelihood though the rule has probably been brought in to avoid too many people shouting over the noise and potentially risking the spread of droplets into the air. In which case, it sort of makes sense.