The guidance for Covid secure pubs and bars include advice on entertainment and making sure customers do not need to shout.

Entertainment and pubs go hand in hand as does recorded music in bars.  However, if you want to run a Covid secure licensed premises, live or recorded entertainment cannot is not an option for you and your customers.

The guidance says:

“At this time, venues should not permit live performances, including drama, comedy and music, to take place in front of a live audience. This is important to mitigate the risks of aerosol transmission – from either the performer(s) or their audience.”

In relation to your customers, the guidance says:

“All venues should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other.”

What should you do?

The guidance gives the following advice to licence holders on how to comply with these requirements:


  1. Refrain from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult.
  2. Determining the viability of entertainment and maximum audience numbers consistent with social distancing outside and within venues and other safety considerations.
  3. Preventing entertainment, such as broadcasts, that is likely to encourage audience behaviours increasing transmission risk. For example, loud background music, communal dancing, group singing or chanting.
  4. Reconfiguring indoor entertainment spaces to ensure customers are seated rather than standing. For example, repurposing dance floors for customer seating.
  5. Encouraging use of online ticketing and online or contactless payments for entertainment where possible.
  6. Communicating clearly to customers the arrangements for entertainment and clearly supervising with additional staff if appropriate.

Stephen McCaffrey

Regulatory defence barrister specialising in alcohol and entertainment licensing law, appeals and defence.

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