Remember that badminton group that flouted safe distancing rules at the ActiveSG Jurong East Indoor Sport Hall last month?
Even though all sports activities are limited to no more than five participants, the organiser of this badminton group booked six courts.
His group, which met through online platform Meetup, had booked six courts because they had 29 players.
This wasn’t just a problem because it was against the rules, but because one of them ended up being a Covid-19 patient.
As a result, all ActiveSG indoor sports halls were closed a few days later on 28 June.
But there’s more in store for these errant badminton players.
SportSG Suspends Membership of Badminton Group That Broke COVID-19 Rules
All 29 players in the group have now had their ActiveSG membership accounts suspended by SportsSG.
SportSG notified the players of the suspension via e-mail on 28 June.
The suspension will remain in place “until the relevant authorities complete the investigations”.
So, until then, they won’t have access to any of the ActiveSG facilities, including sports halls, swimming complexes, gyms, and fitness studios.
Well, what did they expect?
Some Members Have Appealed
According to The New Paper, several members of the group have appealed to SportSG, saying they hadn’t intentionally flouted the rules.
In an interview with The Straits Times, the organiser said: “Whether we committed any wrongdoings or not, we are all suspended. We also didn’t do it on purpose. The rules weren’t very clear. I saw the guidelines and it was changed again for badminton, which shows that it wasn’t very clear.”
This echoes what he said last month, when he called for clearer guidelines.
Another member of the group believes that they did nothing wrong at all.
“Most of us are abiding by the law. It’s not fair, the penalty is too much.
“I don’t know what they mean by not following the rules. We went in to play and when we were not playing, we kept our distance.”
Were the Rules Really Vague?
According to CNA, group sporting activities are limited to five people with no inter-mixing between groups.
This means that if you’re going to play any sort of sports, you can only bring four people along with you, so you’ll have to choose the family member you like the least and leave them at home.
In addition, you can’t mingle with other groups at the sports venue.
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The organiser, who used to book four courts before the Covid-19 pandemic, said he booked six courts for the group of 29, adding that they practised safe distancing and avoided all body contact.
So, what he did was simply divide the large group into six smaller ones, with around 4 to 5 players in each court.
If they all kept to their courts, he could have pleaded ignorance, because they were, in a way, following the rules.
“Based on my interpretation of the rules as stated in the official guidelines, I thought that I had properly followed the rules,” he said.
The only problem is that he said “more than half” the group had played with the Covid-19 patient, and had been quarantined as a result.
This likely means that many players in the group switched courts, which completely goes against the organiser’s assertion that they practised safe distancing.
Plus, by his own admission, the group was warming up and resting together inside the hall, until an Active SG staff member asked them to do so outside.
So, is it fair to say that they didn’t know they were flouting the rules? That’s for you to decide, dear reader.
Fortunately, half of the group have tested negative for Covid-19, and the rest are awaiting their results.
SportsSG said that its new rules – including the one banning the inter-mixing of groups – were clearly spelt out in its advisory and at its facilities.
It added that it will “act against errant users who have infringed the regulations.”
So, if you want to continue playing badminton or going to the gym, abide by the safe distancing rules in place. It really isn’t rocket science.
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