Fitness Association: The “traffic light principle” means a slow death for the sports industry

The “traffic light principle” approved by the Cabinet of Ministers and led by the Ministry of Health, which will further regulate the revision of Covid-19 restrictions introduced in the country, means a slow death for the sports industry, Gints Kuzņecovs, a member of the Latvian Health and Fitness Association, told LETA.

He predicted that the figure of 100 cases per 100 thousand people would be reached only in the autumn, especially given the current rate of vaccination. Upon reaching this indicator, indoor sports are allowed for a certain number of people. At the current morbidity rates in Latvia, sports are allowed only outdoors. However, this restriction does not apply to certain categories of athletes, such as national teams.

Read more: Indoor entertainment venues and sports classes will be able to resume work in a medium Covid-19 risk situation

The association will call on the government to review this precautionary mitigation scheme and to follow the experience of Estonia and other countries in deciding the fate of the sports industry.

“We see that the incidence of Covid-19 in Latvia is decreasing from week to week, compared to November and December last year. In December, when the industry was banned from working, the government said we would pass the stricter bans for a month and expect the morbidity to stabilize – then allow sports clubs to work in limited conditions, as they had before. One and a half months have passed, the figures are falling, but we see that the government is doing the exact opposite, saying that

sports will be able to take place only when there will be almost no patients in Latvia, ”said Kuznetsov.

According to him, sports clubs in many parts of Europe with similar indicators can work. “It is not only our will, but sports are an important precondition for public health and psychological resilience, at the same time it is a workplace for coaches,” Kuznetsov emphasized.

The association said that the sports industry has been very conscientious in complying with epidemiological measures and a patient executor of government decisions, but that sports clubs can no longer withstand a complete closure. According to the association, other countries choose to close down the sector only as a short-term solution to achieve the goal quickly.

“We are currently consulting with sports associations in other countries to build on their experience and develop rational solutions – for example, how to ensure high epidemiological safety measures according to different morbidity rates. We believe that each industry needs to develop its own traffic light principle. We have to learn to live with the new situation for a long time, and this coexistence must not be a permanent closure, ”said the head of the association.

He also referred to international studies which found that the proportion of people infected with Covid-19 in sports clubs was very low, with 1.12 out of 100 million visits analyzed being 1.12 per 100,000 visits.

According to Kuznetsov, the turnover of the sports club industry in 2020 has decreased by 40% compared to 2019, when it was 25 million euros. In turn, the taxes paid by the industry in 2019 exceeded 5.3 million euros. The number of employees exceeds 1,500.

It has already been reported that the government agreed on Thursday, February 4, that in the future the restrictions of Covid-19 will be reviewed according to the “traffic light principle”. The Ministry of Health proposed the introduction of a new Covid-19 prevalence management risk strategy, replacing the current approach to reviewing restrictions with the “traffic light principle”, ie defining four groups of epidemiological indicators against which restrictions are set.




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