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Government under fire for ‘rule of six’ exemption for shooting and hunting

Written by on 14 September 2020

The government has been accused of making shooting exempt from the new coronavirus restrictions “for their mates” after it emerged that groups of more than six can go hunting.

The “rule of six” came into force in England on Monday, with members of the public facing fines of up to GBP3,200 if they do not abide by the new measure, which aims to curb an increase in COVID-19 cases.

However, new government guidelines provided an exemption for some sports and activities including shooting – which involves hunting and paintball that require a shotgun or firearms certificate licence.

Labour has criticised the move, claiming the exemption “shows where the government’s priorities really lie”.

Shadow environment secretary Luke Pollard said: “Across the country, people are struggling to get COVID-19 tests anywhere near their homes.

“But the Conservatives are distracted with trying to exempt the bloodsport passions of their big donors from coronavirus regulations. It shows where this government’s priorities really lie.

“It is clear there’s one rule for the Cabinet and their mates and another for the rest of us.”

More from Covid-19

Other physical activities that can be done in groups of more than six include team sports such as rugby and football, as well as sailing, angling and polo.

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The guidance says: “When participating in organised sport or licensed physical activity, you must not gather in groups of more than six before and after the activity. You must also ensure you socially distance from people you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) wherever possible.

“When playing sports informally with people you don’t live with, you must limit the size of your group to six. It is illegal to do so in a larger group and you may be fined.”

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Here is the full list of organised sport or licensed outdoor physical activity that you can do in groups of more than six:

  • Angling
  • Baseball/Softball
  • Basketball
  • Canoeing/Kayaking
  • Caving
  • Climbing
  • Curling
  • Cricket
  • Dodgeball
  • Dragon Boat Racing
  • Equestrian
  • Floorball
  • Football
  • Gaelic Sports
  • Goalball
  • Hockey
  • Ice Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Netball
  • Octopush (underwater hockey)
  • Polo
  • Roller Sports
  • Rowing
  • Rugby League
  • Rugby Union
  • Rounders
  • Sailing/Yachting
  • Shooting (including hunting and paintball that requires a shotgun or firearms certificate licence)
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Volleyball