A hospitality representative expressed concern on the impact the restriction could have on some venues
The Morning Star Bar in Belfast city centre (Image: Justin Kernoghan/Belfast Live)
Dancing and live music will not be permitted in pub beer gardens when they reopen next week, according to Stormont's coronavirus regulations.
Outdoor hospitality venues including bars and restaurants are due to open on Friday in the next phase of relaxations to lockdown restrictions.
The Covid-19 regulations say premises must not allow dancing, the provision of music for dancing, or any live music.
But the restriction on live music will not apply to wedding or civil partnership ceremonies.
Colin Neill, chief executive of industry body Hospitality Ulster, said background or ambient music will be permitted at venues when they reopen.
He said: "They're allowed to have background music but it must be at a level where a customer could speak normally."
The hospitality representative said, for example, a DJ would be able to play music but the volume would be reduced.
He expressed concern on the impact this could have on some venues.
"People want to come out from home and work and escape the humdrum, and there are premises that specialise in music," he said.
"Obviously they can't put that on so there is less attraction for people to come out."Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster. (Image: Justin Kernoghan/Belfast Live)
Mr Neill said he hoped this restriction could be removed in future, in a similar way to how venues no longer need to close earlier or provide food for customers to have an alcoholic drink.
He said: "We had hoped that would be lifted this time round. We have seen it removed in England and we had hoped we would see that here.
"We had raised that with the curfew and main meal requirements, and they have been removed.
"It is very much a case that we hope we would be able to get that removed soon."
The reopening of outdoor hospitality is among several relaxations of Covid-19 restrictions taking effect from April 30.
Non-essential retail, gyms for individual training and self-contained tourist accommodation will also be reopened as part of the changes.
On Friday, close-contact services including hairdressers and barbers reopened for the first time since lockdown restrictions were imposed last Christmas.
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