Coronavirus News Update
Below is a summary of the current rules from the four countries of the United Kingdom.
This first part is all pretty self explanatory, but worth covering the basics. In all cases the 2m social distancing rules must be maintained for all people from outside a household.
Scotland – Up to 8 people from 3 households can meet to detect, ideally within a 5 mile radius of their homes.
Wales – Any number from 2 households can meet to detect, again ideally within 5 miles of home.
Northern Ireland and England – 6 people from different households can meet to detect together with no restrictions on travel.
England only – We have continued to lobby the Dept. for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) to loosen restrictions on rallies. As a result they are talking to the Government again on our behalf.
The DCMS also confirmed yesterday it is still illegal for more than 6 people from different households to meet for a rally or dig.
In addition, this morning, we also sought legal advice. Again this advice confirmed again that digs of more than 6 people would be illegal and could leave the organiser and the attendees liable for prosecution and a fine.
Why are detecting rallies not allowed when other gatherings like car boot sales and other sports are permitted?
We posed this question in a lively discussion with the DCMS. The simple answer was that a group dig, whether run by a club, charity of commercial organisation, is categorised as an event. Therefore it is lumped with music festivals, sporting and other similar events. These are all illegal (for gatherings of over 6 from different households) under The Health Protection (Coronavirus restrictions) England regulation 2020.
The only way an event for more than 6 people can take place is if the land is owned or on long term lease by the business organising the event. This is so that robust (rather than temporary) physical measures can be put in place to protect the participants, visitors and any members of the public who also have access to the land. So, because fisheries and golf clubs have a permanent base (on land they own or lease) they can have more than 6 people doing their sport at one time.
Car boot sales are categorised as retail businesses and are subject to different rules.
Professional football is subject to strict testing and health screening of all participants.
To anyone organising, or considering organising a group dig we ask you to please reconsider your decision.
In addition to the moral and health issues, these digs will bring our hobby into disrepute and will be used by detractors of our hobby in decisions made in the Treasure Act review this summer and farming schemes being negotiated and consulted on this autumn. The Treasure Act review and changes to farming schemes may have far reaching impacts on our hobby. So you might wish to ask yourselves, as organisers or attendees of these events, if having these events during this lockdown period is worth the risks on the long term future of our hobby? We certainly don’t think it is.