KUALA LUMPUR, 17 Oct 2020:
The Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) has issued standard operating procedure (SOP) guidelines involving commercial sports facilities allowed to resume operations in areas under Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) this Monday.
The ministry said in a media statement these facilities have to adhere to the issued instructions – including no physical contact and physical distancing of between one and three metres for static activities, and three to five metres for dynamic activities.
Activities in football fields and futsal courts are to be for practice purposes only and limited to a maximum of 10 participants at any given time.
Each operator has to schedule additional practice sessions if there are many participants and ensure the total does not exceed 10 individuals at a time.
The operational implementation of gymnasiums and badminton halls have to adhere to the previous SOP, in particular regarding the sharing of equipment, the frequent sanitisation of equipment and scheduling of slots to control the number of users at any given time.
All contact sports and competitions are still not allowed at this time.
“To ensure adherence to the SOP is not taken lightly, state Youth and Sports Departments will constantly monitor the situation.”
The National Security Council’s (MKN) special meeting today decided commercial sports facilities operators and owners in CMCO areas – namely commercial football fields, gymnasiums and futsal courts, including commercial badminton halls – are allowed to resume operations from Oct 19.
Sports facility operators in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, which have come under the CMCO to contain the spread of Covid-19, are facing hardship after shutting their doors for business to comply with the order.
Even though MKN gave the green light for non-contact and outdoor sports with less than 10 people, it’s a no go for aquatic sports (swimming and diving), indoor and contact sports like futsal, football, badminton, gymnasiums and recreational centres from Oct 14 to 27.
A striking red closure notice till Oct 27 was seen at the Seri Siantan Sports Complex, which accommodates two swimming pools managed by the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS).
MPS Corporate Department deputy director Fauzi Ishak said though facing losses in income – ever since the Movement Control Order (MCO) imposed on March 18 – the council complied with directives for the wellbeing of the public.
“Before the MCO, we charged RM4 for adults and RM2 for children, so monthly collection was around RM16,000-RM17,000. But before closure on Monday, collection was just about half .
“It is not very bad, just okay. It is not much because we have to comply with strict SOPs like allowing a maximum of 16 people at any one time and not more than hour allowed for each person. “However, what is important is the safety of patrons and compliance to SOPs to fight Covid-19.”
Meanwhile, a gym owner in Old Klang Road, N. Rajaratnam, who was hit hard by the pandemic, shared the same opinion saying that while public safety is the priority, the facilities should be allowed to reopen with strict SOPs.
“For small gym owners like me, the income is not so big which was already affected since March. This two-week closure will cause additional RM2,000 loss because we can’t charge our customers when they’re not using the facilities.
“Anyhow, I complied with the government’s decision by shutting my doors. However, I hope that the government could allow our operation since we always sanitise the place after each customer,” said Rajaratnam, who is also the Malaysian Indian Bodybuilding Association president.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, who visited three sports facilities yesterday – Radia Arena football field in Shah Alam, Sportizza Futsal Court and Fitness First Gym in Subang Jaya – said he understands the plight of the industry players.
“I have brought their plight to the highest level including writing and speaking to Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in the hope that the MKN can give consideration to activities related to the sports industry to be categorised under the economic sector and allow sports and indoor recreation facilities to operate.
“These include football fields, badminton halls, futsal courts and gymnasiums but according to the prescribed SOPs. I hope MKN will give this due consideration to enable economic activities in the sports industry to recover in stages.”