When the Northern Ireland Executive review the restrictions around the 23rd January hopefully they will allow outdoor group activities to restart before the restrictions come to an end.
Outdoor exercise will be permitted only with members of your own household at least for the first week.
The regulations state:
Only individual or household outdoor exercise is permitted. Physical activity such as walking, running, cycling, horse riding, or just walking the dog, bring many health benefits.
As it says “such as” this means it is not limited to the activities listed above therefore a countrysports activity would be permitted as long as it was part of your daily exercise in line with the regulations
What is permitted
Under the new coronavirus regulations, 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.
Essential bird and mammalian pest control to protect crops, livestock, or for conservation may continue during the lockdown period. Pest bird shooting must comply with relevant general or individual licences as applicable. Pest control services requested by a landowner or agent can be construed either as work (whether paid or unpaid) or voluntary service. We strongly advise during this lockdown period that you have confirmation from the farmer requesting your services to address an immediate problem (i.e. a recent text message)
Game management and gamekeeping activities may continue during the lockdown period. Ensuring that birds under your care are adequately provided with food and water is important.
Non-essential retailers such as gun shops are allowed to trade remotely online or mail order etc.
While hunting is not permitted It is important that both horse and hound exercise continues with only the minimum number of personnel to manage hounds following all social distancing rules.
Before undertaking any activity in the current climate with hospitals currently working at or above 100% and with challenges of COVID-19, we would ask members to carry out a risk assessment before undertaking any task and avoid taking any unnecessary risks.
If carrying out essential vermin control during lockdown, we advise taking a copy of your shotgun or firearm certificate with you, confirmation from the landowner requesting your services and paperwork permitting you to shoot on the land you are on.
During lockdown local sensitivities can be high. Although it is not a legal requirement you may want to log your trip in advance with Police on 101.
Everyone shooting during lockdown must consider the impact of their actions on the image and reputation of the sport. We all have a responsibility to comply with the letter and spirit of the regulations and guidance in place.