The following is an interpretation of the guidance issued by government on 23 November. We will update this guidance should it be necessary to do so once the implementing legislation has been published and scrutinised by Parliament.
When does the lockdown end?
The latest guidance is that the new 3 Tier system will now come into effect from the beginning of 2 December. That means from the 2 December, subject to following strict COVID guidelines, organised outdoor physical activity, including shooting, will be permitted.
Government regulations previously stated that the current national lockdown in England would last up to and including 2 December with the new 3 Tier system coming into effect on 3 December.
Where will the different tiers apply?
Government has said the new tiers will be applied ‘locally’ or ‘regionally’. They will be announcing the tier area boundaries on Thursday (26 November) and say there will be a Tier Checker on the gov.uk website where you will be able to enter a postcode and find out which tier it is going to be in.
Outdoor shooting activity
In all tier areas, organised outdoor sport and physical activity (including shooting) can continue. Current guidance does not suggest that such activity will be subject to gathering limits (the ‘Rule of Six’).
The legal requirements for shooting in groups are expected to remain as they were before the second lockdown. This means that the organiser or a participant must hold a valid shotgun or firearms certificate, conduct a risk assessment, and ensure all reasonable measures to limit the transmission of the coronavirus but the legislation has yet to be published.
Those at work or providing voluntary services are exempt from gathering limits (e.g. gamekeepers, beaters and pickers-up).
Outdoor leisure and sports venues (including shooting venues) will be permitted to open.
Indoor shooting activity
Organised indoor sport (such as target shooting) will be able to take place in accordance with the ‘rule of six’ in Tier 1 areas. In Tier 2 areas, organised indoor sport can take place if separate households can be prevented from mixing. Organised indoor sport cannot take place in Tier 3 areas. There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s.
Shoot meals and accommodation
Shoots operating as a business and providing food and drink or accommodation must follow the relevant tier guidance for the hospitality sector. Guest accommodation in Tier 3 areas must close.
Shoots not operating as a business and providing food and drink must conform to the indoor and outdoor gathering limits for the relevant tier in force in their area. The exemption of outdoor physical activity from the gathering limits does not apply to associated social activity
Travel and overnight stays
When travelling into or staying in a higher tier area you should follow the rules for that area. When travelling into or staying in a lower tier area, you should follow the rules for the tier of your home area.
Government advice is that you should avoid travel to Tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. Similarly, government advice is that people should avoid travel out of a Tier 3 area other than where necessary.
Overnight stays for driven game shooting in Tier 3 areas are not permitted as guest accommodation must close and mixing of separate households indoors is not permitted.
Non-essential retail, including gun shops will be permitted to open.
For further information and to check the Tier in your area visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus