May 4, 2020

Yes – you need a mask while exercising

South Africans are certainly enjoying the (albeit limited) taste of freedom that we have under the level 4 regulations! There have been many photos and videos posted on social media showing streets, parks and promenades with walkers and joggers.  I went for a bike ride this morning and I was constantly passing runners, walkers and other cyclists – many times more than I would normally see on a ride.

The narrow window of permitted exercise time doesn’t make any sense.  It would make far more sense to allow people to exercise at any time during the day.  This would have a double benefit – the streets would be less crowded with those exercising, and the shops would be less crowded, as those exercising wouldn’t be there. 

I have also seen the odd spat in social media over the use of masks when outdoors, with some calling out those without masks, and others (presumably those who WERE without masks) saying that the regulations only require them in a public building.

Regulation 5(1) says that a person must wear a cloth mask when in a public place.  Regulation 5(2) says that no person will be allowed to use any form of public transport, or enter a building, place or premises, if they are not wearing a cloth mask. 

A public place is any place that is not a private place.  A private place is a place where the general public does not have free access, such as a private home and a private car are clearly private places.  An office, where clients or customers are admitted by appointment, is a private place.  A shop where a member of the public can enter at will is a public place. 

The outdoor places where we may exercise are public places.  If the authorities wanted to limit the places where masks are compulsory to buildings, they would have left out regulation 5.1.  You must wear your mask when you are out for a walk!

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