Czech sports unions call for reopening of gyms and facilities

Leaders from national sports organizations have called for an exception to the closure of Czech sports facilities

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 20.12.2020 12:47 (updated on 20.12.2020)

Leaders of national sport organizations have called on Health Minister Jan Blatný to let indoor sport facilities operate during the fourth PES epidemic level.

The Czech Republic has been operating according to restrictions within the fourth level since Friday, while officials will convene Monday to discuss moving into the fifth and highest level.

The heads of the National Sport Agency (NSA), the Czech Sport Association (CUS), the Czech Olympic Committee (COV), the Association of Sport Unions (CAUS), and the Sokol movement have proposed to launch a test project to show that sports can be practiced safely during the current situation.

The Health Ministry is ready to negotiate about it. "Minister Blatný answered our letter and he will meet all the signatories of the letter regarding the present situation with sports on Monday," NSA spokesman Jakub Večerka told CTK.

Up to 10,000 young athletes from all Czech regions could take part in the project. The associations have also asked the Health Ministry to participate in the project as antigen testing would play a key role in it.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak in Czechia in March, amateur sports have been banned for a total of nearly four months during 2020, and the most recent loosening of the ban lasted only 15 days. Hundreds of thousands of amateur athletes have been left without regular organized sport activities.

The heads of Czech sport organisations said they can see that the COVID-19 situation is serious, but they believe that the long-term consequences will become larger than the immediate risks.

They say that sport activities are a prevention against diseases, including COVID-19, and it helps both adults and children to maintain good physical and psychological condition.

NSA head Milan Hnilička suggested that indoor sport facilities, swimming pools, and fitness centers could be kept open for up to ten people who either wear a face mask or provide a negative test for coronavirus,

CUS head Miroslav Jansta said the attitude that sport is something without which people can do for weeks and months should be reassessed.

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Experts say children who sit in front of computer monitors because of distance learning face a risk of getting addicted to computers and getting used to a passive lifestyle.

COV head Jiří Kejval said there is a danger of these children developing into a COVID generation that will not be used to practicing sports and other physical activities, and will therefore have a low immunity against all viruses and diseases in the long term.