Coronavirus: Government criticised over ‘rule of six’ exemption for shooting and hunting

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 £3,200 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.

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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.”

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

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