A new normal as sports make return in phase 2
Safety measures include having designated hours for recreational and learner swimmers, group activities of not more than 5, and a capacity limit at venues
As sports facilities reopen from tomorrow, patrons can expect a new normal.
Among the most significant changes announced by national sports agency Sport Singapore (SportSG) yesterday is the allocation of staggered time slots at swimming pools for senior citizens, the general public and swim school students.
Senior citizens have been given the 6.30am-8.45am window, followed by organised swim classes from 9am-6pm and access to the general public from 6.30pm-9.30pm.
The slot for the general public will be extended to 12.30am at ActiveSG's Our Tampines Hub, Sengkang, Yio Chu Kang, Jurong Lake and Kallang Basin swimming pools.
Bookings via the ActiveSG app or website will be required for access to public swimming pools.
There will also be limits on the capacity in pools with a maximum of five swimmers per lane and class sizes of at most five during swimming lessons, with groups required to stay at least 3m apart.
The maximum capacity for pools, as with all other sports facilities, is 50, or 10 sqm per person, whichever is lower.
Toilets and changing rooms at pools will be open but SportSG's advisory encourages swimmers to "to wipe dry after swimming, and put on their attire without accessing changing rooms".
Sherman Ang, 38, who used to swim once a week on weekends before pools were closed, understands the need for staggered timings but said it would be harder for him to find time to hit the water now.
He explained: "I used to swim in the mornings or afternoons, so it's going to be more difficult to find time now because the general public timing is usually my family time."
Pools and other sports facilities have been shuttered since April 7, when Singapore entered a circuit breaker to curb the spread of Covid-19.
However, with phase two of the post-circuit breaker period starting tomorrow, facilities such as stadia, swimming complexes, sports halls, fields, hardcourts, gyms, fitness studios, golf courses and bowling centres are set to reopen.
While Safra's six EnergyOne gyms will be reopening tomorrow, not all sports facilities are ready for regular business to resume.
True Group, which has seven True Fitness and three TFX facilities islandwide, said it has not confirmed its reopening date.
Core Collective, which runs classes on everything from yoga and barre to combat sports, is planning to reopen in phases next week.
Shiva Yoga Studio, meanwhile, is planning to reopen next month, although it may push the date forward based on demand from customers.
Gyms and fitness studios, along with other sports facilities, were given a clearer picture of the guidelines they would have to follow to reopen by SportSG's advisory.
As a "general posture", the national sports agency said that a 2m physical distance "between individuals should be maintained in general while exercising and playing sports".
That goes up to 3m for high intensity or high movement exercise classes conducted indoors.
The physical distancing rule need not apply to team sports but contact sports need to be modified "to avoid extensive body contact".
For example, for rugby, no rucks, mauls, line-outs or scrums and tackling are allowed.
Contact sports such as football and basketball are permitted, but with a maximum group size of five people, with a 3m distance between groups.
The five-person quota and safety distance between groups applies to all sports and fitness activities.
SportSG also notes that "masks should be worn as a default", explaining: "Masks can be taken off when performing strenuous activities, although it is still recommended as good practice even under such circumstances."
Freelance athletics coach Sky Khoo, who currently works as a venue ambassador looking after foreign workers who are in essential services and do not have Covid-19 symptoms, is happy with SportSG's advisory.
The 36-year-old, who is planning to resume coaching at Kallang on Saturday morning, said: "I think the advisory covered the safety aspects for phase two while also allowing sports coaches and athletes to resume training in a much safer environment in view of Covid-19.
"Even though (the restricted group size means) I may need to stagger my coaching to cater to all my athletes, overall I am happy."
However, Jacqueline Chan, director of Odysseus Aquatics swim school, believes the maximum capacity of 50 is too little.
Said the 34-year-old: "The allowance is too small considering previously we used to have 200 people in the pool when we were conducting lessons.
"It might also become quite difficult to book a time slot with so many coaches vying for pool time."
STAGGERED TIMINGS FOR PUBLIC SWIMMING POOLS
- 6.30am - 8.45am
senior citizens (age 60 and above)
- 9am - 6pm
organised swim classes (groups of 5 with 1 instructor)
- 6.30pm - 9.30pm*
* Extended to 12.30am at ActiveSG's Our Tampines Hub, Sengkang, Yio Chu Kang, Jurong Lake and Kallang Basin swimming pools.