by Tim Bonner

New regulations on social gatherings introducing the ‘rule of six’ came into force in England at midnight on 14th September. The regulations do, however, include exemptions for sporting and outdoor activities which will allow many rural activities, including hunting and shooting, to continue under strict Covid protocols.

Any outdoor physical activity for which a licence has been issued by a public body for the activity itself, or for equipment used during the activity, will be exempt from the gathering limits. 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. Shooting activities where the organiser or any participant holds a valid shotgun or firearms certificate for the relevant activity will therefore be exempt. Our full guidance for shooting under Covid restrictions can be found here

Sports gatherings for people who are not elite sportspersons to “take part in any sport or other fitness related activity” are also exempted from the gathering limits providing they are run by businesses or other organisations and operate Covid safe protocols. This will allow a range of outdoor activities to continue, including trail hunting. The relevant hunting associations will be issuing guidance in due course.

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