Let’s ban noisy people from restaurants – it’s for the public good, after all

New research suggests that ‘loud talking or shouting’ in restaurants can increase the rate of Covid infections. Time for the brayers to button up, writes Rupert Hawksley

Monday 07 December 2020 00:11
More wine, please! (But keep the noise down)
More wine, please! (But keep the noise down)

You may have forgotten this – but eating in an expensive restaurant is tremendously good fun. Wine... olives... dishes you can’t pronounce... a bit more wine. Even a trip to the loo – ooh, luxury moisturiser – feels like a treat.

But all of this can so easily be ruined if you’re sitting next to a particularly noisy table. “Yah... stock market… exactly, yah… Klosters… no, no, we decided on Eton in the end… darling, shall we get another bottle?” Very tedious. These are not so much conversations, as statements intended to be heard by the entire restaurant. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, well... perhaps you’re off to Klosters in the spring.  

Imagine my delight, then, at the news that “loud talking or shouting” in restaurants is under severe scientific scrutiny. Research published in the Journal of Korean Medical Science last week suggests that too much of the old “yah... yah” (not the scientific term, perhaps, but close enough) can actually increase the rate of Covid infections. Diners sitting up to 6.5 metres apart in an unventilated room can, the data shows, still transmit the virus – and “loud talking or shouting” could be to blame. 

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