What will exercising 'under strict conditions' look like? We look at what other countries are doing

2020-04-24 14:17

Will cooped-up South Africans be set free to exercise post-May 1?

Various forms of lockdown are in place across the world, but South Africa's five week stay-at-home order has been among the strictest.

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In a raft of new measures to open up sectors of the economy, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday evening said: "People can exercise under strict public health conditions".

This will kick in on 1 May when "a gradual and phased recovery of economic activity" - or "risk-adjusted strategy" - will begin.

The details of exercise, however, have yet to be released.

Under the lockdown, South Africans have been banned from exercising outdoors - whether walking, running, cycling or walking their dogs.

In his address, Ramaphosa said full details about the next phase would be fleshed out in full detail by Cabinet ministers at an as yet to be determined date, but will happen within the next week.

News24 looked at various exercise rules in place around the world, and found the following:


The lockdown crackdown was intensified for the French on 8 April when a ban on exercise between 10:00 and 19:00 was introduced. Those wanting to walk, run or cycle had to do so before 10:00 or after 19:00 when the streets are at their quietest. Paris' deputy mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said: "Nothing is perfect: the aim is to limit risks by limiting overcrowding rather than a general ban."

United Kingdom:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said UK residents are permitted to exercise - but only once a day. Parks have remained open, subject to approval by local authorities. But gyms and indoor sports facilities have been shut. Residents are, however, permitted to drive to the countryside to exercise there - so long as the distances are "reasonable". This remains open to interpretation. The police guidelines stipulate: "Exercise must involve some movement, but it is acceptable for a person to stop for a break in exercise." This includes the legal right to stop "to eat lunch while on a long walk". But "a short walk to a park bench, when the person remains seated for a much longer period", is banned.


Residents are permitted to venture out of their homes - up to 2km from their front door.


In the Land of the Rising Sun, people are urged to exercise "self-restraint", but are permitted to exercise, so long as they avoid "the three Cs", of closed spaces, crowded areas and conversations in close proximity.


Several media accuse this Mediterranean nation of having "the strictest lockdown in Europe". The Guardian reported the "silent trauma of children", who were not permitted to leave their homes for nearly six weeks. The Spanish government eventually relented to public pressure, which included mass pot-banging from apartment balconies. Some experts described the ban on exercise for children as "cruel".

United States:

Rules vary, across the US. "I don't want to close big, beautiful open spaces - not when we're encouraging people to go outside with intention and purpose," explained California Governor Gavin Newsom. But over-crowding later forced him to reverse this thinking. The sight of packed beaches, opened up to the public, have been at the forefront of battles between political leaders across the States.

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