New laws introduced this week have now and loud music, singing and dancing in pubs and bars as part of new coronavirus rules.
The wide-ranging emergency laws, which came into force on Monday, have been blasted by Conservative MPs, who have accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of ruling by decree.
Pubs and bars are now forbidden to claim music over 85 decibels, with operators being asked to take “all reasonable measures” to stop singing and dancing by customers in groups of more than six.
Live performances, weddings and receptions are exempt from the rule.
In addition to the music ban people in England must by law self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus, or are contacted by the test and trace service, or face fines starting from £1,000 , rising to £10,000 for repeat offenders.
The Prime Minister’s new laws have faced fierce criticism. Former Conservative minister Steve Baker compared the ban on singing and dancing in bars and restaurants to George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, and likened the Prime Minister to King Théoden in the Lord of the Rings books, telling Times Radio: “The king is under the spell of his advisers. And he has to be woken up from that spell.”
The Prime Minister is under mounting pressure to give Parliament the opportunity to debate and vote on future restrictions, with more than 50 Tory MPs signalling they could rebel on the matter.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “The cumulative impact of layering restriction upon restriction is making it harder for pubs to survive. We have already seen a total ban on music in pubs in Scotland, which has seen trade plummet there.
“The sector has not been consulted on the evidence base for these extra restrictions on music. We are acutely aware of our responsibilities as businesses, but the Government is in danger of cutting off any chance of a recovery. Instead of placing further restrictions on pubs, we need the Government to focus on putting a proper support package in place to help our sector survive the winter.”