While all fishing has been given the go-ahead from March 29th in the UK, the news for retailers is not quite so good.
Tackle shops and other ‘non-essential retail’ can fully open in Step Two of the new guidelines issued by the Government, which is April 12th. Until then, they can continue to operate click and call and collect.
Although many retailers will be more resilient after the experience of earlier lockdowns, and better geared to mail order, the delay will be seen by some as frustrating and a missed revenue opportunity during a time when participation and licence sales are soaring. But Angling Trades Association Chairman Andrew Race told Angling International: “If this scenario gets us a permanent return to angling, then that is what we want. This is not about missed opportunities, but more to do with the cost of a two-week lag against that of a fourth wave lockdown.
“Obviously last year’s increase in participation makes any delay more acute in terms of potential impact, but the ATA has significantly increased its support of participation initiatives in 2021 and we are fully committed to retaining and building on 2020 gains for the long-term benefit of members and angling.”
Fisheries offering self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also open from April 12th. While pleasure fishing has been allowed during the lockdown, restrictions have now been lifted on match fishing and night fishing under the new guidelines from March 29th. In addition, sea anglers will be able to go on charter boat trips from that date.
More information on the guidelines can be found here