Minister Grace Fu urges caution as sports facilities reopen today

Fitness enthusiasts should bear in mind that they should not be socialising, even as exercising in groups of five is allowed from today.

That was one of the messages that Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and Sport Singapore (SportSG) CEO Lim Teck Yin put across during a Facebook Live session with the sporting fraternity yesterday.

National sports agency SportSG issued an advisory on safe management measures on Wednesday, regarding the reopening of sports facilities - including stadia, swimming complexes, sports halls, gyms and fitness studios - as Singapore enters phase two of the post-circuit breaker period today.

A 2m physical distance between individuals should be maintained in general while exercising. That goes up to 3m for high intensity or high movement exercises done indoors.

The operating capacity of these facilities is restricted to 10 sqm per person, or a maximum of 50 people, and group activities are limited to no more than five participants.

If there is more than one group sharing a space, the groups should not interact with each other and must be at least 3m apart.

Emphasising the importance of not socialising at the sports facilities, Minister Fu said: "The instructor or whoever is in charge has to make sure that the groups of five are not mixing and that they are not mixing even after they leave.

"We are urging everyone to be really cautious. This is not the time yet for socialising, it is really just for exercising, it is utilitarian, it is for functional purpose, not for a drink after that.

"Let's get the basic exercises that we need and, if things are calmer and get better, then we will relax (the restrictions) along with the other sectors."

Lim also highlighted areas where interaction is very likely and reminded patrons to be mindful of social distancing measures.

"At our gyms, for example, the changing rooms, toilets are small areas which pose higher risks," he said.

"As such, it is good practice to maintain social distancing and likewise not talk when inside these areas. So, really, the mindset is come and exercise, enjoy the activity and then move on... don't stay behind to socialise."

Lim also discussed the issue of coaches managing more than one group. While it is allowed in some cases, they must take precautions to not only ensure that the groups don't interact with each other, but also for coaches to maintain their own safety protocols.

"No point you manage them well on the facility, then everyone goes to the toilet or changing rooms together, it defeats the purpose," he added.

Parents were also reminded not to interact with other parents while waiting for their children to finish their activities. - NARENDAREN KARNAGERAN