Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter

AS the government continues to ease Covid-19 induced lockdown enforcement measures, the Sports and Recreation Commission has granted new operating times to registered sports and recreation facilities (clubs and gyms), allowing them to operate from 6.30am up to 6.30pm.

These times, according to a notice released by the country’s supreme sports body, are effective immediately, but the SRC reminded the clubs and gym management that all protocols for prevention and containment of Covid-19 remain applicable and must be observed at all times.

“The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) hereby gives notice of the decision by the Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation to grant authority for the adjustment of operating times for registered sport and recreation facilities (clubs and gyms),” read the statement.

The approval, according to the commission, was in pursuant to recommendation it made, on behalf of the sports and recreation sector.

The SRC urged all unregistered sport and recreation facilities to immediately regularise their registration with the Commission to comply with the law.

“This approval is pursuant to the recommendations made by the SRC on behalf of the sports and recreation sector to the Minister. This approval is only for registered clubs and gyms. In this regard, SRC is urging all unregistered sport and recreation facilities to do so without further delay in order to comply with the law,” said the SRC.

Earlier this month the Association for Fitness Facility Owners of Zimbabwe accused the SRC of an authoritarian approach and poor communication skills, and also questioned the basis for privately owned fitness facilities to register with the SRC.

They also demanded to know the legal basis for ordering some of their members to shut down on allegations of flouting stipulated conditions for reopening under provisions of Statutory Instrument 200 of 2020, in particular registration with the SRC.

It was in the interest of the sector, the association said, for SRC to clarify, as a matter of urgency, the legal basis compelling privately owned fitness facilities to register, pay registration fees and annual licensing fees, the basis for amounts to be paid and instructing certain private fitness facilities to close down.

The association has a membership of over 25 gyms around the country.