Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector

Guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector, including procedures for staff and customer safety and an operations checklist.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector
Live entertainment

Live entertainment can take place in general hospitality from Level 0.

Key points 

  • live entertainment will be possible in general hospitality from Level 0 where physical distancing in indoor public spaces is standardised at 1 metre
  • if live entertainment is being provided in bar and restaurant spaces then statutory guidance for hospitality still applies, including at seat service and socialising rules for indoor public spaces
  • if live entertainment is provided in dedicated events spaces in hospitality, such as a function hall or conference room, then this can be planned under events and or performing arts guidance
  • live entertainment must still only be offered in line with a premises’ licensing conditions and, where necessary, engagement with the local authority


One metre physical distancing will apply in all indoor public settings in Level 0. From Level 0 hospitality premises can provide live entertainment, subject to their licensing conditions and, where required, engagement with local authority regulators. This guidance does not supersede any local licensing requirements in relation to live entertainment in hospitality. In levels 3, 2 and 1 only low level background sound/music (recorded and live) is permitted, at various levels, in hospitality settings operating at 1 metre physical distancing – see guidance for background sound

Hospitality statutory guidance and assessing risk

It is important to note that in Level 0 there is still the requirement for general hospitality settings to observe current statutory guidance for hospitality, including at seat service, and capacity and gatherings limits will continue to be restricted in line with physical distancing and socialising rules. It is also necessary for operators to revisit their premises’ Covid risk assessment if live entertainment is being introduced. This means that premises that wish to offer live entertainment need to consider as part of their planning the nature of the entertainment relative to the rules that remain within hospitality guidance, or whether what is planned may be better suited to follow the guidance for either events and or performing arts

Entertainment spaces in hospitality should be organised in a way that ensures performers, customers and staff are safe and are able to observe all required mitigations. Operators and performers should also refer to the relevant sections of the performing arts guidance when planning entertainment as part of risk assessments to help manage this i.e. advice for people involved in performing, producing, designing and supporting.

Volume control

It is expected that premises will be mindful of ongoing mitigations in hospitality and the need for 1 metre physical distancing to be observed. Very loud music may cause a hazard if customers have to lean-in to be heard or have to shout to communicate, especially if not wearing a face covering. It is recommended at this time that, as part of assessing risk, volume is given careful consideration and set at a level commensurate with the setting.

Events and performing arts guidance settings

The physical distancing requirement is the same at Level 0 regardless of which guidance is followed (1 metre), but other aspects will differ and may require a different licensing arrangement and engagement with local authority regulators, depending on the nature of the planned entertainment. 

Live entertainment being planned under events and or performing arts guidance should be held within a separate space from that offered under hospitality guidance. For instance, the bar, lounge or restaurant area of a premises is required to follow hospitality guidance/at seat service etc. but can host live entertainment that does not involve people leaving their seats, standing in front of performers or gathering in groups. Alternatively, and subject to the appropriate license requirements being satisfied, live entertainment may be hosted in a function hall or conference room that is separate from other parts of the hospitality premises and planned around events and or performing arts guidance, applying the variable measures that exist under that approach, such as higher attendance numbers (where safe physically distanced capacity permits). Please note that dancing is not permitted until beyond Level 0, with the exception of what is allowed under weddings guidance.

This guidance applies in Level 0. When Scotland moves beyond Level 0 and all physical distancing requirements are removed, we expect premises will return to near normal operating models, taking into account any ongoing baseline measures. All measures will be kept under review.


Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

First published: 16 Apr 2021 Last updated: 28 Jul 2021 -