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From 27 November for two weeks a more strict lockdown is planned for Northern Ireland. With reference to shooting and country sports, here is what we understand so far.

NI Government information link HERE.

A helpful news link HERE.

From the above NI Government link we pick out the following points:

  • "There should be no household gatherings, other than those involving support bubbles.
  • You should work from home if at all possible. Only leave for essential purposes such as education, healthcare needs, to care for others, or outdoor exercise.
  • Some of the restrictions will be in law through regulations, while others will be in guidance.
  • Up to six people from no more than two households can meet up outdoors in a private garden, but you should maintain social distancing. Children aged 12 and under are not counted in this total. You can form one bubble with one other household. A bubble can be formed between two households of any size.
  • Indoor and outdoor sport is not permitted, other than at elite level e.g. professional football. Elite sporting events must be held behind closed doors without spectators.
  • All sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, fitness and dance studios must close.
  • Individual/household outdoor exercise and school PE can continue. Physical activities, such as walking, running, cycling, horse riding, or just walking the dog, bring many health benefits. "

Our understanding of what this means for shooting and country sports in Northern Ireland from 27 November until 11 December is that:

  1. Organised multi-person clay or game or clay shoots or other such country sports events will not be permitted to go ahead - that seems to be an irrefutable interpretation of the above NI Government wording.
  2. Essential work that cannot be done from home can continue e.g. forestry, farming, pest control, animal husbandry. We would strong advise any SACS member acting as a third party worker or helper using this exemption to get a letter or email from their farmer or landowner stating that their work activity is essential to their farming or forestry enterprise.
  3. Outdoor exercise can continue as an individual or in your household group. Clearly angling and shooting are good forms of exercise, but it is fully up to individual members to justify their actions and activity with respect to their own circumstances.

We trust the above is helpful. Please read the link for yourselves and keep abreast of news specific to NI. The nature of UK-wide restrictions in the last few weeks is last minute changes and lots of uncertainty. Do all you can to continue to be responsible and mindful of the risk of the virus to others, even if you yourself may not be vulnerable. At least there is an end in sight via a number of vaccines.

We will update as we know more, or if there are changes to the above information.