Pubs in southern Scotland call for background music ban to be lifted

Credit: ITV Border

Restaurant and pub owners in Southern Scotland are calling for a ban on background music to be lifted, saying it's turning customers away.

The rule was introduced on 14 August to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19. The Scottish government said there is an increased risk of transmission when people raise their voices.

A petition has been started calling for the ban to be overturned with owners claiming it's ruined the atmosphere in their premises. 

The Crown, in Lockerbie, says the lack of music in their pub has had a devastating impact and it has had to close after customer numbers plummeted.  

Owner, Stephen Montgomery, wants to see the ban overturned. He said: "Personally, for me, this is heartbreaking. It really is. Not just for me, but for my staff.

"They've done everything, they've stuck by us through lockdown, they've stuck by us when we reopened again. And for them now, it's a sorry time.

"They've now driven people away - from well controlled pubs, hotels and restaurants where we do everything they ask - to uncontrolled parties where there's no traceability."

  • Video report by Lewis Warner

The petition was set up by Brian d’Souza, the winner of Scottish Album of the Year, and has been signed by more than 1,300 people across the country.

Speaking to ITV Border, Brian said: "Playing music at a quiet level isn't necessarily going to lead to people shouting and transmitting the virus. Having speaking to experts in this area, it's not based on any concrete science and there's ways around it."

The Scottish Government say they will continue to monitor the situation and update guidance based on the best public health advice, but for now the music must be off.