Swimming pools and sports halls could reopen

Illustration photo shows the Coque swimming pool in Kirchberg Delano archives

Illustration photo shows the Coque swimming pool in Kirchberg Delano archives

After the prime minister announced the reopening of non-essential shops from 11 January, sports minister Dan Kersch (LSAP) issued clarification to the Luxembourg parliament’s sport commission on what bill 7743 will mean for sports activities.

Minister Kersch said that the risk of coronavirus infection during sporting activities was less likely than through social activities. It means that while sports will resume with some restrictions, activities like carpooling to go to training and post-training gatherings will be forbidden.

What are the changes?

Under the draft law, individual sport and two-person sports can go ahead without restrictions.

A maximum of ten people can come together to practise a sports activity at the same time as long as there is a permanent physical distance of at least two metres between the different sports players. Wearing a mask is not mandatory. It means it will be possible to gather up to 10 people in a park to practise yoga while respecting the distance of two metres per person.

Sports facilities will be able to reopen their doors to the public, provided they have a minimum area of 15m2 for sports activities performed individually, at least 50m2 for activities performed by a maximum of two people and at least 300m2 for activities performed by a maximum of ten people. As an example, the minister said three groups of 10 people can practise sports simultaneously in a sports hall with a surface area of 900m2 divided into three lots by a wall or a separation barrier. Coaches (and referees) must be included in the number of 10 people.

Regarding outdoor field sports like football, the sports ministry is expected to publish a list of recommendations, which will include respecting a distance of 20 metres per group of 10 people (without mixing the groups).

Swimming pools will be allowed to accommodate a maximum number of six bathers per 50m lane and three per 25m lane.

Changing rooms and showers will be accessible to the public provided they do not exceed 10 people per changing room/shower and keep a distance of two metres. In the changing rooms, the wearing of a mask is compulsory.

Exceptions for elite athletes

There will be some exceptions for national teams and elite athletes, related to 10 athletes training together and respecting the two-metre distance. For example training of the national soccer team will be exempted from the 10 people cap and two metres social distance. On the other hand, a third division soccer team will have to respect these rules.

Sports competitions are expected to go ahead behind closed doors with the first championship expected at the end of January. Meanwhile, a concept is being developed to test athletes for coronavirus.

Further details regarding sports activities will be announced at a press conference with minister Kersch at 11am on Thursday.