Shooting During Covid-19 Restrictions in England
SHOOTING DURING COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS IN ENGLAND
A new three-tier system of Coronavirus restrictions has been introduced in England from 14 October onwards. The local COVID Alert Levels ‘medium’, ‘high’ and ‘very high’ will be implemented in different areas depending on local infection rates.
All COVID alert levels – ‘medium’, ‘high’ and ‘very high’
It remains lawful to participate in all outdoor shooting activities in ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’ alert areas as long as COVID-19 regulations are complied with. It is also lawful to travel into, within and out of these areas to shoot as long as COVID-19 regulations are complied with.
Shooting activities include target shooting, recreational and essential pest control, recreational deer stalking, wildfowling and game shooting. Gun shops may continue to open as long as COVID-19 regulations are complied with.
Changes in tier 1 – ‘medium’ alert area
No specific changes for shooting. Follow guidance above.
Changes in tier 2 – ‘high’ alert area
Indoor rifle ranges and airgun ranges, indoor shoot lunches and holiday accommodation will be restricted in ‘high’ alert areas because people from separate households are not allowed to mix indoors.
Changes in tier 3 – ‘Very high’ alert area
Indoor rifle ranges and airgun ranges, indoor shoot lunches and holiday accommodation will be restricted in ‘very high’ alert areas because people from separate households are not allowed to mix indoors.
Government guidance states that ‘you should try to avoid travelling outside the very-high alert level area you are in or entering a very-high alert level area other than for things like work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if you are travelling through as part of a longer journey’.
Government guidance states that ‘you should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you are resident in a very-high alert level area, or avoid staying overnight in a very-high alert level area if you are resident elsewhere’.
The ‘rule of six’ and shooting
As a ‘licenced physical outdoor activity’ shooting continues to be exempt from regulations restricting social gatherings to no more than six people outdoors. This exemption is subject to certain conditions being met. Some key points are listed below.
Any outdoor physical activity which requires a licence issued by a public body for the activity itself, or for equipment used during the activity, will be exempt from the limits on numbers who may gather together.
For shooting, this means that where the organiser or a participant holds a valid shotgun or firearms certificate, there is no limit to the number of people who can gather for the purpose of the relevant activity while outdoors.
The organiser will be required to have undertaken a health and safety risk assessment and put in place all reasonable measures to limit transmission of COVID-19, including ‘test and trace’ procedures.
Employees, such as beaters, pickers-up and loaders, are also exempt from gathering limits both indoors and outdoors where their gathering is necessary for work purposes.