Opinion Former Article

Coronavirus - A statement from BASC CEO Ian Bell

Here at BASC we are not underestimating the seriousness of the current situation brought about by the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Our thoughts go out to those who have been affected thus far.

In recent weeks, many regional and national countryside events have been postponed or cancelled, while businesses and employees across the UK are already feeling the effects of reduced movement, spend and consumer confidence.

At BASC, our job is to ensure that shooting flourishes as we adapt to, tackle and emerge from these unprecedented and challenging times. We are paying close attention to developments and will continue to revise our approach so that we are always best placed to serve our membership and the wider shooting community.

As an organisation we have taken the necessary steps to keep staff and volunteers safe. All staff members will be working remotely until further notice. However, the usual phone lines will remain open during working hours.

Of course, our day-to-day work doesn’t stop. We continue to knuckle down and address all manner of issues – from securing workable and reasonable general licences, to fighting against legal challenges relating to gamebird release, and lobbying to ensure a sensible solution to firearms licensing implications amid restricted police resources.

We are in no doubt that this virus will affect each and every one of us in some way, but it is paramount that we remain positive.  Now more than ever, as a community we must pull together and look out for one another. Businesses, charities and organisations of all sizes face uncertain times - from wildfowling clubs and gun shops to game shoots, game farms and game dealers – but we mustn’t panic; instead we must do everything in our power to ensure we support such businesses in their time of need.

This time of year is critical for game shoots. The financial outlay of hatching, rearing and buying in chicks and poults is typically offset by deposits paid by Guns booking their shooting for the season ahead.

We would encourage people where their circumstances permit to go ahead and make bookings for the 2020/21 game shooting season;  given the Prime Minister’s most recent announcements we hope shooting will continue as usual come autumn and winter, but it will only do so if we pull together as a community, keep calm and carry on.

In the meantime, keep well, follow the guidance, and rest assured that BASC is working hard to find ways to help. Guidance and advice will continue to be published on our website, through our weekly newsletter and across our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram).

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