COVID-19: Sports facilities closed in Phase 1, but public may exercise outdoors with household members

People jogging along the Helix Bridge near Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. (PHOTO: Maverick Asio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Public and private sports and recreational facilities will remain closed during Phase 1 of the reopening of activities when Singapore exits the COVID-19 circuit breaker period after 1 June.

However, Singapore’s sports governing body Sport Singapore (SportSG) said in an advisory released on Sunday (24 May) that it encourages the public to continue exercising to sustain their health and well-being.

Exercising outdoors with members in same household

To minimise risks of community transmission, members of the public – especially seniors who are more vulnerable to illness – should stay at home to exercise. There are online resources that offer varied virtual classes and events, as well as tips and advice on home-based exercise.

Those who wish to exercise outdoors should do so in their immediate neighbourhoods, engaging in basic exercises such as walking, running or cycling.

During Phase 1 of the reopening, they may exercise outdoors with members living in the same household, although SportSG encourages exercising alone, so as to reduce the number of people outdoors.

“No one should linger outside after their exercise and they should return home immediately after they are done,” it said in the advisory.

“Safe distancing measures must be observed at all times between people of different households, and there must not be any gathering in groups. Consequently, coaching by anyone from a different household is also not permitted.”

Masks must be worn by everyone (including children aged two and above) when leaving and returning home from exercise. Mask wearing is only not required when one is engaged in strenuous exercise such as running, jogging/brisk walking, cycling and other similar activities. Masks must also be donned after one has completed strenuous exercise.

The public should also observe exercise etiquette when exercising outdoors, to keep the community safe. They are also advised to install the TraceTogether app to facilitate contact tracing.

INFORGRAPHIC: Sport Singapore

Available options for fitness industry in Phase 1

In Phase 1, private sports facilities such as gym studios will remain closed. However, fitness operators may be granted access to their business facilities for the purpose of recording content for online classes involving a limited number of staff, subject to approval.

They have to send in their application to Ministry of Trade and Industry, and ensure safe management measures are in place. More information is available at covid.gobusiness.gov.sg.

Sports industry players are encouraged to reach out to their communities online. They can partner SportSG through the ActiveSG Circle, a platform that allows them to deliver their content and services to consumers of health and wellness programmes.

SportSG is also providing temporary employment opportunities for workers in the sector whose livelihoods have been impacted, with more than 500 job opportunities available. These jobs are listed on Workforce Singapore’s SGUnited job portal and SportSG’s job portal.

The ActiveSG Training Centre and CoachSG, SportSG’s training arms, are offering courses with SkillsFuture funding, in cooperation with NTUC and Workforce Singapore. Courses cover a range of topics from digital marketing to design thinking, as well as specialised subjects such as sports science. Those who are interested may visit this portal.

Return to sport in Phase 2

Sports facilities, such as gyms and fitness studios, will be gradually allowed to re-open in Phase 2, subject to the implementation of safe management practices at the venue and for facility staff and users.

The return to sport and physical exercise/activity under this phase will be based on the following considerations:

  • Group size limitation: Limiting group size and minimising interactions within the group, allows for community transmissions to be more effectively contained. The permitted group size may be gradually raised over time.

  • Safe Distancing: Distancing requirements will influence the nature of activities allowed and the capacity of sports facilities. For instance, safe distancing may require sport formats involving deliberate body contact between participants to be deferred until it is less risky. However, technical training drills may still proceed. Sharing of common equipment would be discouraged. Safe distancing measures will also apply to non-participants outside the field of play.

  • Environmental Factors: Outdoor facilities with better air circulation would carry lower risks than indoor environments.

For the latest updates on COVID-19 for sport and physical exercise/activity, please visit SportSG’s website. For queries, members of the public can email SPORT_QSM@sport.gov.sg or call 1800-3441177 during office hours (Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 6pm).

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