Minister Grace Fu: Phase 2's current rules just for the start
Minister Fu says Govt willing to relax Phase 2 restrictions if operators, NSAs show they can manage risks
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu challenged commercial sports facility operators and national sports associations (NSAs) to show they can work within phase two guidelines, so that the Government can loosen restrictions.
The second phase of the post-circuit breaker period started last Friday, allowing stadiums, swimming complexes, sports halls, fields, hardcourts, gyms, fitness studios, golf courses and bowling centres to reopen if they met certain criteria.
Broadly, they include venue caps of 50, or 10 sqm per person, whichever is lower; restricting group sizes to a maximum of five and requiring at least two metres of physical distance between patrons.
Ms Fu outlined how those guidelines could be loosened further during a virtual press conference yesterday, after her ministry highlighted the around $400 million a year investment in sports programmes and infrastructure, including the Toa Payoh Integrated Development and Punggol Regional Sports Centre.
The facility in Toa Payoh, which will be developed over the next 10 years, will feature a sports centre, polyclinic, library and town park.
The Punggol facility, meanwhile, which was previously slated for completion in 2023, will feature a 5,000-seater football stadium, swimming complex, indoor sports hall, basketball courts, gym, fitness studio, tennis and futsal courts, water activity centre and an archery training centre.
Said Ms Fu: "We are working with the industry, both the commercial operators and the NSAs closely.
"This current phase two model that we are looking at is only the initial way of starting.
"We're starting cautiously, so we are quite strict with some of the regulations. But we expect, as I shared with the industry players recently, that if they show that they are able to operate well and are confident to extend the group size, we are prepared to extend.
"So, for example, some of them have multiple halls and, if they show that they have different control access points that allow people not to mix, then we can consider going above 50. Similarly, the NSAs are having this dialogue with us.
"If they can show they are able to handle the risks and do not have the players mingling and socialising, having a drink after their games, then I think we can proceed.
"So the idea really is to learn from the first two weeks, run through the processes on contact tracing, temperature taking, operations and separating groups. I think once we run through it and have a good warm-up, then we can move towards more relaxed operations."
The Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth revealed that it had received 20,000 online bookings for swimming pool, gym and badminton court slots during the first three days of phase two.
With a restaurant in Holland Village ordered to shut after failing to ensure safe management practices were adhered to, Ms Fu highlighted that there would be checks to ensure sports and fitness facilities were not flouting phase two guidelines.
She said: "Because we have just started with phase two, right now there is still a lot of clarification that is going on, but we will be visiting some of the studios and hopefully we won't find too many that are flouting the rules.
"We hope that all the operators will be cooperative and responsible so we can move forward together...
"How are we going to do enforcement? Very often, just like many other sectors, through whistle-blowers. When we receive reports, we will follow up."