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Social gatherings above six banned in England from 14 September – will this affect shooting?

The Government announcement bans larger groups meeting anywhere socially indoors or outdoors.

Coombe Sydenham Shoot

Coombe Sydenham Shoot

Sporting agents and shooting bodies were hoping that the Government press conference on 9 September would give greater clarity on how the ruling would affect shooting. However it is still not clear how and if shooting sports will be affected. 

Shooting UK spoke to a few individuals from the shooting world to gauge initial reactions. 

Mark Heath of the West London Shooting School commented: “At the moment all we have is a headline, no analysis or detail. Shooting is an organised sport so not included as a social event. It is also outdoors so lower risk. The sport has made great efforts to follow Government COVID guidelines on hygiene and social distancing to protect participants.”

Jack Knott of BASC reiterated shooting’s sense of responsibility. “We are sending our safe shooting document to the DCMS and DEFRA today. It is a checklist shoots have to follow to carry out risk assessments and shows our responsible stance and actions for minimising the risk of transmitting COVID.” 

BASC believes shooting will be covered by the exemptions and that shooting activities will not be affected by the latest guidance in England.

With shoots following social distancing guidelines and best practice, there is currently no reason for further restrictions.

Chris Horne of Guns on Pegs commented: “I do not see anything in the updated regulations that presents a new issue for shooting. Shooting is a fieldsport conducted by a team of guns. Shoots have overwhelmingly embraced the situation and have made provisions for days to be conducted in a COVID secure way with all necessary precautions. Beaters and shoot staff are in the workplace, so are also exempt from the regulations. 

“Most questions we have received have been regarding lunches and hospitality. Our view is that a shoot lunch is no different from a restaurant.”

The new ruling does not apply to workplaces or organised team sports, which could mean that beaters and shooting staff  are exempt. Whether team sports includes shooting is not clear at this stage. As BASC points out, detailed exemptions to the guidance will be published shortly.