For urgent advice only over the weekend please telephone the relevant regional number from the list below:
Wales – Saturday & Sunday
Steve Griffiths – 07771 921 500
Scotland – Saturday & Sunday
Colin Shedden – 07770 990 222
Northern Ireland – Saturday & Sunday
Tommy Mayne – 07775 400 531
England – Saturday
Matt Dutton – 07585 967 452
Sam Walker – 07977 549 304
David Gervers – 07733 123 333
England – Sunday
Lewis Thornley – 07825 547 195
Innis Finlay – 07825 401 148
Covid-19 alert areas
A three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions has been introduced in England. The local Covid-19 alert levels ‘medium’, ‘high’ and ‘very high’ apply in different areas depending on local infection rates.
It is lawful to participate in all outdoor shooting activities in ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’ alert areas; and to travel into, within and out of these areas to shoot; as long as Covid-19 regulations are complied with.
BASC has published Covid secure guidance for game shoots in England.
Registered firearm dealers may continue to open as long as Covid-19 regulations are complied with.
Please email email@example.com for advice on your individual situation if this is not covered by the information below.
Changes in tier 1 –
Follow rules and advice above.
Changes in tier 2 –
Indoor shoot lunches and holiday accommodation are restricted in ‘high’ alert areas because people from separate households are not allowed to mix indoors.
Indoor target shooting ranges may only open if they operate as a business, follow required Covid-19 safe guidance and do not permit mixing of separate households on the premises. There is an exemption for disabled shooters to mix on the range.
Changes in tier 3 –
Indoor and outdoor shoot lunches are restricted in ‘very high’ alert areas because people from separate households are not allowed to mix indoors or outdoors unless an exemption applies.
In ‘very high’ alert areas some indoor sports facilities may be required to close by law and this is a decision between the local authority and central government. This may affect indoor target shooting ranges in some cases. Click here for details of which facilities are not allowed to open in each ‘very high’ alert area.
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.
Due to a significant increase in Covid-19 cases, the Northern Ireland Executive announced new restrictions on 14 October.
These came into force on Friday 16 October for the whole of Northern Ireland and are expected to last for a minimum of four weeks.
Retail businesses including gun shops are allowed to open, however mitigating measures as identified by a risk assessment must be in place.
Outdoor recreational activities, including shooting, can also take place however the Executive has advised against any unnecessary travel.
You should use your own judgement when deciding whether or not to travel to take part in shooting activities, depending on your particular circumstances.
Gatherings of more than 15 people are not permitted, except for allowed outdoor sporting events where the relevant number will continue to apply.
From 2 November, a five-tier system of Coronavirus restrictions will be introduced in Scotland. The local Covid-19 alert levels ‘0-4’ will apply in different areas depending on local infection rates. The Scottish Parliament will scrutinise the proposed system on Tuesday 27 October, after which we will update the website with the headline provisions and what this will mean for shooting-related activity.
Specific guidance for Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley, Lothian and Ayrshire and Arran
The Scottish Government have advised against all but essential travel from or to Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley, Lothian and Ayrshire and Arran from the 9th October.
All other areas of Scotland
Travel restrictions in Scotland have been lifted and it is possible to travel anywhere in Scotland for outdoor recreation, including shooting activities such as target shooting, recreational and essential pest control, recreational deer stalking, wildfowling and game shooting. Travel into and out of Scotland is also allowed.
Non-essential retail businesses, including gun shops, are allowed to open
From 14 September, social gatherings have been restricted to no more than six people from no more than two households, both indoors and outdoors. While this obviously affects social gatherings both before and after a shoot day, this will not affect the shoot itself.
A Scottish Government exemption exists for “services or activities that are already exempt from these restrictions and have been permitted to open subject to their own guidance such as organised sport”. This exemption covers shooting which is an organised sport and shooting is included in government approved guidance for country sports in Scotland.
Rules on accommodation
All holiday accommodation is now permitted to open as long as establishments follow appropriate guidance. Visitor attractions are also permitted to open.
We are aware that many members will be visiting Scotland in the coming months and are concerned about new restrictions on visiting other households that took effect on 23 September.
We have been advised that the ‘one household rule’ that applies to people’s homes will also apply to some commercial accommodation businesses, including self-catering accommodation. Other commercial accommodation businesses (such as hotels) are not impacted by the ‘one household rule’, but they are still subject to the ‘rule of six’ (a maximum of six people from two different households).
We are working with stakeholder organisations to lobby for a more consistent approach across the various types of commercial accommodation businesses, which are a vital component of Scotland’s rural economy. Read our latest press release on the Scottish Government’s decision to impose a single household restriction on self-catering accommodation here.
The rules for meeting other people in public indoor spaces that are subject to strict regulation and guidance remain the same – you can meet with one other household only and in groups of no more than six people.
In addition, the Scottish Government has advised against car sharing with people outside your own household.
Welsh ‘firebreak’ lockdown from 6pm on 23 October to 12:01am on 9 November
A two-week Welsh ‘firebreak’ lockdown is taking effect from 6pm on Friday 23 October until 12:01am on Monday 9 November.
Everyone in Wales is required to stay at home. Exceptions are for exercise, essential supplies, critical workers and where working from home is not possible.
No gatherings are permitted with people you do not live with either indoors or outdoors. The only exception to this is if you are an adult living alone or are a single parent household. If this applies, you can be in a temporary extended household with one other household. For more details on this, click here.
Certain businesses and venues, including bars, restaurants and most shops, including gun shops, must close.
During this lockdown period it is a reasonable excuse to continue carrying out essential bird or mammal pest control to protect crops or livestock with the landowner’s permission. It is not a reasonable excuse to take part in recreational shooting activities such as target shooting, game shooting and wildfowling.
Welsh ‘firebreak’ lockdown FAQs
Q. I live in Wales can I still go game shooting during the Welsh ‘firebreak’ lockdown?
A. No, as this is non-essential travel you will not be allowed to leave your home to take part in a game shoot.
Q. Can I travel to another country in the UK to shoot?
A. No, the guidance is quite clear that it is essential travel only.
Q. Can I leave my house to go beating or picking up during the ‘firebreak’ lockdown?
A. No, game shoots in Wales will not be able to run during this period so you will not be able to go picking up or beating. However, you may travel to England to beat and pick up on a shoot as this will be classed as work.
Q. Can I leave my house for pest and vermin control?
A. As pest control is classed as work you are permitted to travel to carry out control.
Q. Can I travel to maintain the welfare of birds on my shoot?
A. We suggest first asking people who live in the shoot county to help. However, you are permitted to travel to maintain bird welfare.
Q. Can I still go wildfowling during the ‘firebreak’?
A. No, as this will be classed as non-essential travel and therefore not permitted.
Q. Can I continue with deer management during the Welsh ‘firebreak’?
A. Yes, as this is classed as essential work you will be able to continue managing deer. However, if your name is not on the written permission, you will not be allowed to go.
Q. Can a Registered Firearms Dealer remain open?
A. No, all non-essential shops must close and click and collect is also not allowed.
Q. If I do not abide by the guidelines could my certificates be at risk?
A. Yes, this is a possibility. Each case will be individually considered based on its merits and interaction with police or enforcement officers.
So far BASC’s Covid-19 guidance visits have achieved…
visits to date with another
items of PPE with another order in place.
We have pulled together a number of resources to help pass the time.
From fun activities for children to how to prepare your dog for the season, we have something for everyone.
Covid-19 guidance visits for game shoots
It has been a year like no other and the coronavirus pandemic has created uncertainty for shoots up and down the country. As restrictions begin to ease, the prospect of a shooting season is improving, but we need to stay safe. BASC is launching Covid-19 guidance visits to help ease this transition and secure opportunities for shooting this year.
Tens of thousands of pounds worth of losses hit the rural economy following a Scottish Government u-turn on self-catering accommodation restrictions.