What does COVID legislation look like in practice
Last week we posted about how COVID compliant shoots may run. The Countryside Alliance released a guide on Monday. However, this week we received a document for a shoot on how the day will go in accordance with COVID legislation. We thought it would be worth sharing it with you all to help you understand what to expect. While these rules won’t apply for all shoots this is just one of the sets of guidelines we have seen.
The initial page is fairly straight forward. Most of the guidance revolves around keeping within the right areas and avoiding getting too close to other guns. The paragraph in bold states the need to separate into Teams. Our assessment is that on the day these Teams will be how Guns will travel around the shoot. Later in the document its states that should someone become COVID positive it should reduce those affected.
This list is quite extensive in comparison to what we expected. This guidance is specific to this shoot but similar measures should be expected. Depending on the size of the shoot there may be more space to meet in the morning. We are expecting that we will travel around this shoot in our own cars with passengers required to wear masks.
The key here is that nonshooting guests or last minute replacements aren’t going to happen this year, at least at this shoot. Unfortunately, it looks like there won’t be much peg sharing this year. Its been proven that COVID can be transmitted from dog to human. With dogs being so prevalent on a shoot day they will be restricted to their leads in social areas. Personally, it seems a shame but I probably won’t be taking my lab with me. Both him and I will be disappointed but shooting is bigger than him getting to get a runout.
The majority of this page is for the beaters benefit. Again, I’ve always enjoyed the interaction between the beaters and the guns. Often they are grails of knowledge about the area and also have great stories to boot. Im sure there will be chances to wave to old faces but its not quite the same. However, not quite the same probably sums up this year quite well so is to be expected. As we mentioned before, the beating teams are often a little older so we’d like to see them stay healthy for next season.
We are unsure as to whether loaders are welcome but knowing the team it seems unlikely that anyone here will be taking one. This will be something for Guns to keep in mind at shoots over the course of the season. What is made quite clear is that the shooting team and the beating team are to be separate at all times. The legislation differs for the two groups as one is at work and the others are participating in the sport. This works in the same way as restaurant staff, Beaters need to work in close proximity but this doesn’t exempt the shooting guests.
While I’d normally take some of the birds to the game cart myself, it’s now going to be exclusive work of the beating team. As such, the chances are that I’ll be leaving the dog at home. This should hopefully avoid any issues and his own frustration at not being able to work as much. While this is quite a loss I know he will get some work later in the season. No doubt there will be plenty of opportunities for him walked up later in the season
We really like what Chris Horne has mentioned here and thought this is a valuable sentiment to take on board. Since shootings exemption, many people have used shooting as a comparison to now banned activities. The last thing we need to do is stoke the fire and prove their point for them. This provides our detractors the perfect chance to shoot us down if we make mistakes. This is the perfect opportunity to prove that as a community we can follow the rules and be sensible. With a lot of eyes looking in, now is the time to be on our best behaviour.
While the social aspect is a huge part of the sport, let’s not forget we are lucky to be out at all. There’s no doubt that should reams of photos go back to newspaper outlets of us not socially distancing that shooting may no longer be exempt. If we get this wrong, we will do doubt see the legislation tighten which is clearly an option from Tuesday’s broadcast.
Ultimately, we have the power to make the season a success. With this day for example, keeping a stock of masks in the car and the dog on the lead will be enough to calm any nerves. While it will be odd without normal elevenses, we know this isn’t forever. While some of the rules seem intrusive it’s for a greater cause rather than short term gains. This legislation will develop over time and we will keep you updated.