Croatian Headquarters Will Discuss Lowering Music in Catering Establishments to Reduce COVID-19

Daniela Rogulj



September 28, 2020 – Music in restaurants, bars and cafes could soon be quieter in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The latest, as the Croatian Headquarters will discuss lowering music in catering establishments.

Namely, as various Croatian media learned on Monday morning and as Jutarnji List reported, the National Civil Protection Headquarters will soon begin talks with representatives of caterers in which they will try to agree on reducing noise in restaurants, bars, and cafes, i.e., reducing decibels from speakers, which would ‘lower’ the tone of visitors’ conversations.  

Colder weather will certainly increase the number of those sitting in cafes and restaurants indoors where there is usually loud music, resulting in guests amplifying their speech. Since the coronavirus spreads mainly by droplets, in part by aerosol, any increase in speech or shouting helps it spread.

According to Croatian laws, catering establishments in which music is not provided as an obligation in the minimum conditions can have noise only up to 65 decibels, which would be the strength of the average conversation. However, it is almost certain that music in cafes is sometimes much louder. These are all reasons why the Headquarters intends to reach an agreement with the caterers, because, in the end, it is to their advantage, given that if a cafe is registered as a hotspot, it will face temporary closure.

The Headquarters’ views are also supported by the research of scientists from the University of California who said that, for example, reducing the volume by only six decibels in average speech can have the same effect on preventing the spread of the coronavirus as doubling room ventilation.

Increasing the volume by 35 decibels, which is the difference between whispering and shouting, emits 50 times more particles. Namely, whispering creates a noise of 35 decibels, ordinary conversation of 65, loud speech 75, and shouting 100 decibels, which is 30 more than the noise generated by city traffic. Noise of 100 decibels is mostly allowed in nightclubs under Croatian law.

Experts warn that during the corona period, due to the excessive spread of the virus, singing in choirs should also be limited, and they also recommend ‘quiet zones’ in all high-risk enclosures like hospital waiting rooms.

In the past 24 hours, 48 new cases were recorded, so the number of active cases in Croatia today is 1,180. Among them, 291 patients are in hospital, of which 24 are on a ventilator. In the past 24 hours, 3,029 people were tested.

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