SINGAPORE: In addition to bringing along their badminton racquets and shuttlecocks for a leisurely game at Our Tampines Hub’s courts on Saturday (Jun 20), Mr P Shreekant and Mr GM Viswanath made sure to pack hand sanitiser as well.
“We brought our own sanitisers because even though we have safe distancing, we will be exchanging shuttlecocks ... and we are also perspiring during the game,” said Mr Shreekant. “So I think we should take care too.”
Saturday marked the first weekend since the start of the circuit breaker that members of the public were allowed to use sporting facilities as well as visit public beaches.
But wet weather throughout the island on Saturday morning and early afternoon seemed to have kept most home.
When CNA visited Pasir Ris Park at 11am, beaches at the park were largely bereft of people, save for a couple of fishermen. Fitness facilities were also largely empty and unused.
As part of efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, all beaches in Singapore had been closed since Apr 11.
“It’s great to go out again, rather than just go to work and come back,” said angler Haizilharizad Hairul Zaini. “It’s a good time for us to just destress.”
Along with a few of his friends, Mr Haizilharizad had decided to brave the rain to fish.
“We were thinking even if it rains, never mind we will wait it out, once the weather calms down we will start,” he said. “Since yesterday was the first day, we figured that it would be quite packed.”
West Coast Park was similarly quiet. Not all the tape had been removed from some of the playgrounds in the park, while one other playground was open but empty.
Other areas in the park also remained cordoned off from the public, with only a handful of joggers out and about.
READ: Crowds return to Orchard Road, long lines at mall entrances as shops reopen after more than 2 months
"IT’S VERY REFRESHING"
As part of Phase 2 of Singapore's reopening, sports facilities have been allowed to open under several conditions, Sport Singapore (SportSG) said earlier this week.
In an advisory, the national sports agency said that most sport and recreational facilities, whether managed by public, private or commercial entities, could reopen on Friday. These include swimming pools, stadiums, fitness studios, gyms, indoor sports halls, outdoor courts, bowling centres and golf courses, including those in condominiums.
Most ActiveSG facilities are also allowed to reopen, but dual-use facilities in schools and some facilities listed below will remain closed.
For premises larger than 50 sq m, "the maximum number of persons allowed ... shall be limited according to its gross floor area based on 10 sq m per person or 50 persons, whichever is lower", SportSG said.
This limit is imposed "to minimise the risk of large clusters forming", it said.
All visitors to the reopened facilities will have to use the SafeEntry digital check-in system, said SportSG. Temperature checks will also be conducted and those who appear unwell will be turned away.
The constant downpour meant that there were no members of the public using the track at the Bishan Stadium, with a handful seen heading to the gym or badminton courts.
When CNA visited Our Tampines Hub at 9.30am, it was largely free of foot traffic, save for a few members of the public brisk walking and jogging at the indoor running track on the fifth floor.
“It’s actually very good coming back because for almost three months we were sitting at home with no physical exercise,” said Mr Viswanath, who along with Mr Shreekant and three friends enjoyed a two-hour session of badminton.
All of the badminton courts were in use, with about 30 people on the premises. Two of the four tennis courts were in use.
“During the circuit breaker, we could only do jogging and solo exercises but now (we can play sports) with a bit of interaction and safe distancing. It’s quite a new change and very refreshing to be able to come back at play again,” said Mr Fendy Chandra, who used to play tennis regularly before the circuit breaker.
“The feeling is good, just that the weather is not very helpful. But I’m quite looking forward to this.”