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Ban on outdoor exercises lifted as gyms remain closed

Som Kanika / Khmer Times Share:
With the lifting of the ban on outdoor fitness activities, a group of women gather in Olympic Stadium to exercise. KT/Siv Channa

All sports and outdoor exercises were yesterday formally allowed to resume four months after such recreational activities were banned in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19. The move, said the Ministry of Education, aims to promote a healthy lifestyle among the public amid the ongoing health crisis.

In a statement, Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said: “With the COVID-19 situation kept under control, the Education Ministry, with permission from the Prime Minister, will allow all types of sports and outdoor exercises to resume in public open spaces and the National Olympic Stadium.”

Despite the decision, the announcement stipulated that private exercise spaces, such as gyms and physical fitness centres, which allow for sharing of workout tools and equipment will remain closed to the public.

In April, Naron, in response to the escalating number of viral infections, said: “To prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Education would like to ask all fitness club businesses across the country to halt their operations temporarily until the spread is stopped.”

Following the regulation, all sports and outdoor exercise activities were also restricted.

Women exercise at the National Olympic stadium. The government has lifted a ban on outdoor exercises which was implemented over the virus pandemic. KT/Siv Channa

A senior student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, who gave his name as  Narath, expressed support for the decision, saying the resumption of outdoor fitness activities will help ease public anxiety over the pandemic.

He added: “Exercising regularly will also contribute to having a strong immune system, which can aid us in combatting the virus as well as other diseases.”

Meanwhile,  a freshman student from the same university by the name “Minea”, said that now that the restriction has been lifted, she can finally return to her jogging routine.

However, she said the lifting of the restriction should nevertheless be accompanied by the continued observance of social distancing.

The government likewise reminded all citizens to strictly follow health guidelines, such as keeping outdoor exercise venues sanitary.

Last month, the government eased restrictions on the ban on formal sporting events. This included allowing the resumption of football leagues and reopening of golf courses. Several caveats were however imposed, including holding league tournaments behind closed doors, with limited participants.

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