Badminton players all over Singapore are pissed.
Their Sunday plans of knocking a shuttlecock back and forth have been ruined after Sports SG announced that all ActiveSG indoor sports halls will be closed today (28 June).
Because a Covid-19 patient who had played badminton at the ActiveSG Jurong East Indoor Sport Hall on Monday (22 June) had flouted safe distancing measures.
Even though all sports activities are limited to no more than five participants, the organiser of this badminton group booked six courts.
But hey, maybe he just likes the space, right? Maybe he was being extra cautious and spaced four players out over six courts.
His group, which met through online platform Meetup, had booked six courts because they had 29 players, including the COVID-19 case.
Yet, the organiser of the group defended himself, saying the rules weren’t clear enough.
Rules Could Be “Interpreted Differently”
In response to queries from The Straits Times on Saturday (27 June), the organiser called for clearer guidelines, saying he believed he was following the rules.
“I want to do my part as a member of the public to participate in sporting activities safely and according to the rules. However, rules given are not clear to myself and I believe to some others as well”.
Ok, let’s see if he’s right.
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, and you can’t mingle with other groups at the sports venue.
The organiser, who used to book four courts before the Covid-19 pandemic, says 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.
The problem with this is that it’s impossible to pretend like you don’t know the other groups and resist the urge to socialise.
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.
He wondered why “none of them alerted myself or my players even though the staff were present for a good 10-15 minutes to observe the inter-mingling”.
Is he blaming the ActiveSG staff for not telling him that inter-mingling between groups is not allowed?
Let’s go back to the rule again: group sporting activities are limited to five people with no inter-mixing between groups.
Yet, the organiser believed he was complying with the guidelines.
“Based on my interpretation of the rules as stated in the official guidelines, I thought that I had properly followed the rules.”
More Than Half Played With The Covid-19 Patient
Here’s another problem with the organiser’s defence.
He said that “more than half” the group had played with the Covid-19 patient, and have 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.
The rest of the group, including the organiser, are currently under phone surveillance.
Criticised by SportsSG
SportsSG criticised the group, saying: “SportSG views any violation of safe management measures very seriously as they compromise the entire national effort to minimise the risk of community transmission.”
“SportSG is investigating this incident and will take strong action against the individual and the other players who have infringed the regulations, including barring them from the use of ActiveSG facilities henceforth.”
SportsSG said it would be introducing new measures such as issuing coloured wristbands to identify different groups for each badminton court.
They added that they hoped the one-day closure would prompt residents to “reflect on the importance of exercising individual responsibility for the collective good, so that we can overcome Covid-19, together”.
In other words, don’t mess around with the rules, or sports will be taken away from us again.
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