Outdoor Shooting Ranges Can Officially Open in the Yellow Phase

This article was written by a 2020 graduate of Vermont Law School who is not yet licensed to practice law in the state of Pennsylvania and reviewed by Attorney Joshua Prince. The information below is presented for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

As I previously covered, the Governor’s list of Life Sustaining Businesses is based on the North American Industry Classification System, which arguably designates archery and shooting ranges under the “Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation” Industry Sector. Up to this point, all businesses classified as “Entertainment” were required to remain closed under the Red and Yellow Phases with few exceptions.

On June 10, Governor Wolf announced that businesses operating outdoor recreational activities like mountain biking, mini-golf, paintball, archery, and shooting, among several others, would be permitted to operate those outdoor activities under the Yellow Phase. However, these businesses are still prohibited from operating indoor spaces for public or visitor use other than restrooms, ticketing, and entry spaces. So if you have a fully-indoor range, an indoor-retail space, or even a few indoor-bays to compliment your largely outdoor facility, those specific spaces still cannot open.

Additionally, these outdoor-recreation businesses will still be required to follow the onerous PA Department of Health and CDC Guidelines, which include such restrictions as temperature checking employees each day, preventing visitors from congregating at kiosks or entryways, and limiting capacity to 50% of the stated maximum occupancy, among many, many others.

The Governor’s press release also points out that this comes as Pennsylvania’s own recreation facilities are reopening in state parks and forests, but conveniently ignores that the PA Game Commission has been reopening shooting ranges on state game lands in Yellow Phase counties for over a month.

Remember, ranges are frequently small businesses and they could use your patronage as they reopen. If you have questions about reopening your range and would like to discuss your options, responsibilities, and risks in more detail with an attorney, contact us to set up a consultation.

For a full recap on the status of shooting ranges under the varying shutdown orders and color phases in Pennsylvania up to this point, check out my articles on shooting ranges under the Green Phase, Red Phase, and previous Yellow Phase Guidance.

There are currently 46 counties in the Green Phase and 21 in the Yellow Phase. Eight more counties will transition into the Green Phase later this week. There are no counties in the Red Phase. Check here for a complete list of which counties are in which phase.

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