Contests for contact sports are only expected to be allowed during level 1 of the isolation period.
This was revealed on Saturday at a media conference where Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, gave more information on the impact of Level 3 on sports, arts and culture. The country is moving to level 3 of the seclusion period on Monday.
Sports were focused on during the media conference as people who practice professional sports in terms of the level 3 regulations may continue to do so provided that social distance is maintained and no spectators are present. Mthethwa confirmed participants in non-contact sports as well as contact sports may practice again.
However, sports grounds are not open to the public. Sports matches are allowed again, but only for non-contact sports and without any spectators. Only participants, contestants, journalists, medical officers and television teams may be present. Some of the non-contact sports that may host matches include tennis, athletics, chess and cricket.
According to the minister, his department is in constant contact with sports federations and bodies. Gyms, sports grounds and swimming pools remain closed except for professional athletes to practice and professional non-contact sports matches.
All sports bodies must notify the Minister in writing within 14 days of the publication of the regulations of their detailed plan for the resumption of activities. Operational guidelines should also be provided, which include a guarantee in the form of affidavits related to the testing of all officials.
There were also questions about sports such as surfing and golf. In this regard, Vusumusi Mkhize, director-general of the department, expanded on speculation that the coronavirus could possibly survive in water. However, he emphasized that surfing and swimming should be classified as non-contact sports and this should also apply to swimmers and surfers.
Regarding golf, Mkhize said golf courses could also only reopen for professionals to practice and participate as is the case with other non-contact sports. However, Mkhize made it clear that all the regulations only apply to professional athletes who make a living from sport and are therefore paid to participate in it. Participation in sports for recreational purposes is therefore not yet allowed.
However, sporting activities in focal areas remain prohibited. Massages, physiotherapy (except for injured players), ice baths and saunas are also prohibited. All stadiums, sports fields and other sports facilities must be properly disinfected and cleaned ahead of time before activities can resume. Facilities must also be disinfected regularly and social distancing and other controls must be adhered to.
All arts, culture and heritage events are still prohibited, with the exception of religious events where there may be no more than 50 people.
Nightclubs, casinos, places to provide accommodation, private and public game reserves, bars, museums, beaches, public parks, theaters and cinemas also remain closed.