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Drinkers told to 'not raise their voices' when pubs reopen to stop coronavirus spread

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
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With pubs set to reopen at the start of July, guidelines on how to stop the potential spread of coronavirus have been published by the government.

Drinkers will be able to socially distance inside establishments when they reopen on 4 July, but the atmosphere inside will be very different from how it was before lockdown.

Not only will pubs allow fewer people in order to ensure customers are sat further apart, but the stereo, or football match on the TV, will also be turned down.

 riotous drinking party in public bar
Pubs may be forced to keep music low so people don't have to shout. (Getty/file pic)

This is because as people start shouting or speaking up they are more likely to launch the virus into the air and spread it to other customers – so-called aerosol transmission.

The government guidance states: "All premises should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other.

“This includes, but is not limited to, refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult."

Alluding to the guidance, business secretary Alok Sharma said protections are in place for staff who feel unsafe while working under the new “one metre-plus” restrictions.

 The Crown and Anchor pub in London. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that bars and pubs can reopen from July 4 as restrictions of the Coronavirus Lockdown ease. (Photo by Dave Rushen / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Pubs face new guidelines when they reopen on 4 July. (PA)

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There is a legal duty requirement for businesses to keep their workers safe, for those who interact in those businesses to keep them safe.”

Sharma added: “If people are ignoring the rules and they are not keeping a workplace safe, then there are clearly measures that can be followed and it is possible for there to be enforcement notices, there are going to be checks that are carried out, spot checks by the Health and Safety Executive, which they are already doing.”

Other measures for pubs and restaurants in England include food and drink ordered by customers on their smartphones, which will be brought directly to tables.

Ketchup and mayonnaise sachets will replace bottles, while ensuring social distancing, cleaning bathrooms and reducing contact between people are also advised.

Cutlery should only be brought to the table with the food, according to the government recommendations, while staggered opening times could come into force in an attempt to stop people queuing outside neighbouring establishments from mingling.

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