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The Royal Family’s Boxing Day pheasant shoot exempt from Boris Johnson’s ‘Rule of Six’

Christmas dinner may be cancelled this year at Sandringham, but Boxing Day traditions may still be able to go ahead due to a controversial exemption in Boris Johnson’s ‘Rule of Six’.

As of Monday September 14, it is illegal for people in England to meet in groups of more than six – both indoors and outdoors.

The measures were announced by the Prime Minister in response to a rise in infections as it appears that the ongoing public health emergency is worsening.

The new rules are to be in place for an indeterminate amount of time, meaning Christmas might be cancelled for many families right across the UK.

However, according to the Huffington Post, there is an exception to the Rule of Six – grouse and pheasant shooting.

It is believed that shooting can continue to take place in gatherings of between six and 30 people because of a loophole which permits licensed outdoor activity.

According to government guidance, shooting is classed as an organised outdoor activity, meaning shoots can continue to take place where a licence, permit or certificate is held by the organiser.

There are other exemptions to the Rule of Six, including those attending sports clubs, wedding receptions and political protests.

It is an annual tradition on Boxing Day for The Royal Family to spend the occasion together outdoors shooting pheasants.

The new Rule of Six simplifies the rules on social gatherings, making them easier to understand and easier for the police to enforce.

It means that – apart from a set of limited exemptions including work and education – any social gatherings of more than six people will be against the law.

Police will be able to disperse any such gatherings and fine individuals involved £100, doubling up to a maximum of £3,200.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Across the country, we have all made enormous sacrifices in the fight against coronavirus. However, the recent rise in cases makes it clear that more needs to be done to stop the spread of this disease.

“From Monday new laws will enable the police to fine anyone in breach of the rule of six. As we continue to fight this virus, I urge the public not participate in social gatherings of more than six people in any setting, indoors or outdoors.”