It’s nearing 19 June… and you know what that means!
It’s Juneteenth, the celebration of the first freeing of slaves in America!
Uh… It’s Osamu Dazai’s birthday, who is one of the most important fiction writers in the 20th century?
Sigh… looks like I got to do everything myself. It’s Phase Two, which is the day that gym rats are finally free from their inadequate home gyms.
Stadiums, swimming pools, playgrounds, beaches, lawns and fields, hard courts, gyms, fitness studios, bowling centres, and function room are now allowed to reopen.
Oh. But that doesn’t matter to me since I don’t swim or gy-
Not for you, my imaginary friend speaking in italics. This is for…
You, my dear reader who leads a balanced lifestyle with exercise.
Sport Singapore has released an advisory for this, and before you actually go back, here are some facts you need to know.
1. Not All Sports Facilities Are Open
Most ActiveSG facilities will reopen, but dual-use facilities in schools will remain closed.
You’ll also be disappointed when you reach any of the venues below since they won’t be open yet.
2. There Is A Max Capacity Based On Floor Area
Just because you’re exercising, doesn’t mean that social distancing is gone. There’s still the 5 person limit per group and the need for the physical distancing of 3 metres between groups.
Naturally, this means group exercises anywhere are bad. A South Korean study showed a cluster of 112 infections for just one workshop for dance instructors. In that cluster, eight of the 27 instructors were infected just from four hours of training.
So it makes sense that there’s a capacity limit. And that scales according to size. The maximum number of persons allowed for places larger than 50 sqm is 10 sqm per person, or 50 persons, whichever is lower.
For ones smaller than 50 sq m, the operators will have to ensure that physical distancing is still observed.
Places will need to be well ventilated as well.
3. You Still Need To Wear Mask
Not while swimming or lifting, of course.
You’ll need to wear a mask when entering the place, and hand sanitisers will be located at the entrances and near high-touch surfaces like door handles.
4. Showering At Home Is Encouraged
The last thing we want is for people to crowd at places where bodily fluids might be exchanged, like the showers.
This isn’t specifically mentioned in the Sports Singapore advisory, but the Singapore Swimming Association has told elite athletes that they are not permitted to shower at the vicinity.
As for the regular folks, the SSA recommends us to shower at home before and after our swims.
Note that in practice, this probably depends on each individual venue.
5. Gyms: Prepare To Wipe. A Lot.
Remember that COVID-19 can survive for up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to 72 hours on stainless steel.
Not my words, but from Dr Zhang in a Channel News Asia article.
So you’ll want to be wiping using disinfectant wipes before and after use. Not with your towels, of course. We’re not sure if all gyms are required to do this, but SAFRA is providing these sanitising wipes.
You’ll also want to bring the usual water bottle, towel, and workout attire. Lay down a towel when using machines.
6. Gyms: Workout Gloves Are An Alternative To Wiping
But you might want to use workout gloves if you find that wiping isn’t practical.
Before showering, remove the gloves before the mask, then put gloves in a resealable bag so you don’t contaminate your other stuff.
You’ll have to wash them after every workout session.
7. Gyms: No Buddy Spotting
As much as gym bros are gym bros, if your buddy is spotting he’s probably just a metre away and possibly spraying some kind of bodily fluid.
Sweat itself isn’t known to transmit COVID-19, but other fluids like mucous, saliva, or droplets can be mixed in the sweat.
You won’t want these spreading around.
If you’ve read up to this point and are thinking of swimming, you’ll be like:
Wait, then the pool where bodily fluids are all mixed in how?
8. Swimming: Chlorine Should Inactivate The Virus
You have relaxed, cause there is no evidence that the virus can spread through pool water. It’s not exactly clear what chlorine does do to it though, as some say it inactivates it, some say it could kill it.
In fact, a Straits Times article says that swimming is likely even safer than non-water sports. Where you need to watch out for is in the changing rooms.
9. Swimming: Pools Are To Be Disinfected And Tested Before Opening
If you’re still worried about the cleanliness of pool water, know that all pools and water fountains must be cleaned, disinfected and tested to meet regulated limits before opening.
These tests are conducted by laboratories accredited by the Singapore Accreditation Council.
Even during the circuit breaker where pools were not open, they were treated once every two weeks.
Now, pools would need to remove algae from surfaces of the pool and intensify chlorinating of the water before reopening.
10. Swimming: Up to 5 Per Lane And Group
Previously, the SSA has drafted guidelines that disallowed physical contact and limited coaching to one-to-one, but this is now updated in the Sport Singapore advisory to be 5 in a group, and 5 in each lane.
No physical contact had caused a problem for beginner swimmers, but the updated advisory says that they may “adopt the most appropriate position and distance in the interest of water safety”.
Which should imply that beginners can now take lessons.
But even if you die-die must learn swimming, you might not be able to do so because…
Bonus. Swimming: It’s Probably Going To Rain Anyway
Yep. According to our weatherman, there are going to be thundery showers on most days during Phase Two, which would take place late morning to the afternoon.
But that doesn’t mean that night time is fine, since there will be a few thundery showers at night too.
So with that, rat away, my gym bros and sisters.
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