Coronavirus pandemic

Can't wait to work out? Exercise judgment, be cautious, says Grace Fu

No more than five people can take part in group activities.
No more than five people can take part in group activities.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

As the country's athletes and weekend warriors return to sporting action today following the Covid-19-enforced hiatus, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu has urged those who plan to work out to exercise judgment and be cautious.

She issued the reminder while addressing questions from the sports community during a Facebook Live session with Sport Singapore (SportSG) chief executive Lim Teck Yin yesterday.

The hour-long session followed the release of SportSG's guidance on a safe return to sport on Wednesday.

Ms Fu told the audience: "For the initial period (of) at least two weeks or so, be more cautious. We don't want to have to move back and tighten up."

For example, golfers playing with others should wear a mask, though she conceded that it was "not practical for us to prescribe rules".

She also explained the rationale behind some of the strict physical distancing measures that sports facilities have to adhere to when they reopen today.

She said: "From a risk-management point of view, we need to proceed carefully. If you look at the number of (Covid-19) cases in the community, it has been low for some time, we'd like to keep it that way.

"As we move to phase two, we expect the numbers to go up. More people are going back to work. There are going to be social activities, people of different households will come together.

"We expect more interactions, leading to more cases. We are very mindful of mitigating and minimising the risk."

Venues such as stadiums, swimming complexes, sports halls, hard courts, gyms, fitness studios, golf courses and bowling centres, including those in condominiums, golf and country clubs, are among the facilities that will be allowed to reopen today.

The operating capacity of these facilities is restricted to 10 sq m per person, or a maximum of 50 people per facility. Those who are exercising or playing sports should keep a distance of 2m from others, with that extended to 3m for high-intensity or high-movement exercises indoors such as burpees and jumping jacks.

No more than five people can take part in group activities, and if there is more than one group, they should not interact and must be 3m apart.

Contact sports, in particular, will be impacted. Rugby tackles and grappling in mixed martial arts will not be allowed as Mr Lim said that only "transient" contact would be allowed for such sports. Five-on-five basketball, futsal and 11-a-side football will also be disallowed.

Asked about the resumption of competitions, Ms Fu said she was "hesitating because nobody can tell at this point in time what the situation will be in August".

"If we are able to manage the current transmission rate at less than 10, then I think we can progress," she said.

Mr Lim also reminded the community not to be lax about the rules and regulations. He noted that while it has been common gym etiquette pre-Covid-19 to wipe down equipment with disinfecting wipes after use, this has to be taken more seriously by gym users.

Observing that sports venues are also places where users can interact with their friends, Mr Lim reminded them that the main principle for now is to "conduct your exercise and after that, move on and return home".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 19, 2020, with the headline 'Can't wait to work out? Exercise judgment, be cautious, says Grace Fu'. Print Edition | Subscribe