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Return is announced for non-contact sports in Scotland including angling, golf, tennis and bowls

By Gavin Musgrove

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The SGA Fishing Group has welcomed the Scottish Government's announcement this lunchtime that it will permit local angling as part of phase one of its steps to move from lockdown.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been outlining the four phases of the route map out of lockdown to Holyrood in the past hour.

The relaxations will also allow a return to golf, tennis, bowls and other non-contact sports from next Thursday at the earliest and subject to the coronavirus figures continuing to go in the right direction.

Social distancing measures will still need to be abided by.

Skye of Curr based Charlie Whelan has welcomed a return being signalled for angling.
Skye of Curr based Charlie Whelan has welcomed a return being signalled for angling.

Charlie Whelan, of Skye of Curr is a keen Spey angler and ambassador for the SGA Fishing Group, a stand- alone fishing arm of The Scottish Gamekeepers Association.

He said: “This is a welcome announcement by Nicola Sturgeon.

"Many anglers have been looking on enviously at images of people on the banks in England and Wales and, although the Spring season has been lost and some may feel they could have returned sooner, the fishing community has been wholly respectful of the virus, the government’s advice and the wellbeing of local communities.

“Fisheries should now take the time to ensure local angling can be participated in safely on their waters.

"Many people will benefit from getting back on the banks again, both physically and mentally, and it will help to maintain the interest of young people which is vital for the future of the activity in this country.

“This is also an initial but tentative step forward for the wider country sports industry which is facing great uncertainty.

"However, with support and co-operation from Scottish Government, the sector could be pivotal in driving economic recovery in some of Scotland’s remotest places, when it is deemed safe to do so.

"Country sports, including angling, generate around £315m a year for the economy and sustain thousands of jobs in areas which, analysis suggests, will be disproportionately impacted by Coronavirus trading restrictions.”

People will also be able to socialise outside with members of other households but most obey the two metre social distancing rules from next Thursday providing virus continues to be repressed.

More on Nicola Sturgeon's route map out of lockdown to follow.

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