The Ministry of Sports has closed Cali Fitness club in Nyarutarama, Gasabo District for violating the directives on the prevention of further spread of novel Coronavirus.
In a letter dated August 20, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Shema-Maboko Didier noted that Cali Fitness club was not observing the safety instructions despite the previous warning, and ordered the immediate closure of their fitness activities.
“In reference to the letter Ref.036/PS/Sports/2020 of August 9, 2020 that the Ministry of Sports wrote to you warning you against violating the directives meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after an inspection done at your training ground on August 4, 2020;
In reference to the second inspection done on August 19, where it was again observed that Cali Fitness was not following the guidelines as instructed;
The Ministry of Sports informs you that after these inspections, it has suspended all your sports activities effective August 20, 2020, until you provide a new programme to be followed in compliance with COVID-19 directives,” the letter reads in part.
In an interview with the PS on Friday, August 21, he said that Cali Fitness was exposing their clients to the risk of being infected with COVID-19.
“As per the directives and guidelines, all indoor fitness exercises are prohibited, only outdoor exercises are allowed but also putting into consideration the recommended safety practices like social distancing, wearing facemask, sanitizing or washing hands and avoiding any body contacts,” Maboko said.
He added: “It is in this context that owners of fitness facilities relocated their businesses outdoor but their operations are only allowed after inspection to assess their preparedness to ensure compliance in line with the issued safety guidelines.”
As per the instructions by the Ministry of Sports, fitness facilities are prohibited from using their weight-lifting services or giving their weight-lifting equipment to their clients to prevent any likely sharing of the tools, which can lead to further spread of the pandemic.
However, Cali Fitness had shifted its body-building equipment outside in the parking lot, where their physical fitness exercises were being conducted, and their trainers were also found not wearing facemask.
The PS observed that such violations can lead to the spread of the virus thus calling for the closure of all sports activities that were allowed to resume.
“All safety guidelines, either issued by the Ministry of Sports, Ministry of Health and the government in general, must be respected. Any health and fitness facility found violating these prevention measures will be closed and they risk facing further penalties,” Maboko warned.
Yvan Munyengango, the managing director and head coach at Cali Fitness, acknowledged that they have received the Ministry’s letter suspending their sports activities.
“Yes, we have received the letter halting our outdoor training that was being conducted at Cali Fitness parking lot. COVID-19 prevention guidelines were observed except the use of weight-lifting equipment, but we made sure they were not shared,” Munyengango claimed.
Rwanda National Police (RNP) spokesperson, CP John Bosco Kabera warned against undermining the prevention directives.
“We are working with all relevant entities to ensure that all the directives are adhered to and violators penalised accordingly,” CP Kabera said.
Be it directives and guidelines issued by the government or particular institutions like the Ministries of Health, Local Government and Sports as well as RURA, CP Kabera reminded the public that maximum compliance is the only option either at work or in any public place.
As RNP continues to educate the public on these prevention practices as one of the methods it applies in enforcement, the spokesperson urged the public to be defined by safety behaviours and actions instead of being forced, adding that “safety starts with an individual and is a personal responsibility.”