When gyms and sports halls reopened in Tallinn and Harju County in early February, amateur athletes were amazed because, according to a regulation by the Health Board, yoga and Pilates posed a higher risk of COVID-19 than basketball and football.
“Activities with more intensive breathing, in which people are in smaller groups for a long period of time, running and exhaling, inevitably have a higher risk of infection and cannot be kept at a distance for these activities,” said Mari-Anne Härma, Deputy Director General of the Health Committee.
Still, Härma would not describe the release of team sports from the previous restriction as an accident. “Initially it wasn’t an accident, it was discussed earlier, but the problem was how to categorize it. It (team sport) was initially low risk as it was defined as low risk if needed,” said Harma.
The Health Board’s renewed ordinance came as no surprise to sports associations as it became clear last week that ball games are being treated as high-risk activities.
The spokesman for the Estonian Football Association, Mihkel Uiboleht, said: “When the team sports were all brought together last week, there were concrete trust measures for each sport that had to be followed. Given the coronavirus situation and all the restrictions on other areas of life, we rate these as very good reasonable. “
For example, you have to take a break between training groups to ventilate rooms. People coming and going from training classes cannot come into contact with one another, and changing rooms can only be filled to a capacity of 25 percent. When it is not possible to adhere to these conditions in smaller gyms and halls, Uiboleht recommends that people put on their workout clothes and take a shower at home.
Mari-Anne Härma said: “The Health Board, in cooperation with the police, can occasionally carry out spot checks. We certainly won’t check all of them, but we go on a complaint basis and people go out of their way to let us know the Health Board will take care of it. “
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