KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — A group of over 100 swim school owners, operators and independent coaches are appealing that the government reopen public swimming pools and schools that teach aquatic activities, as most of their businesses are at the brink of closing down for good amid the second movement control order (MCO 2.0)
In a statement today, the informal group argued that swimming pools have not been reported to cause Covid-19 transmissions, and should be allowed to operate along with gyms and other outdoor sporting premises.
“Allow educators to put food on the table,” they said in a statement.
“Swimming pools have been closed for a total of 185 days in the last 12 months and have only been allowed to open for 148 days or less since March 18, 2020.”
In a survey conducted by the group in question on 103 swim school operators, pool operators, freelance coaches and diving centres, the respondents claimed that collectively they lost 90 per cent of their revenue in the last 12 months.
Furthermore, 79 per cent said they will have to cease operations by the second quarter of 2021 if pools are not allowed to reopen.
Over 90 per cent of the respondents also said that their cash reserves have run out and they are operating on borrowed funds.
Of swimming instructors surveyed, 49 per cent said they had no income for the past year, while 37 per cent have claimed to have experienced a pay cut of 50 per cent or more.
The survey also found that there are collectively 2,000 employees in the businesses of the respondents, and 84 per cent of the employees are at risk of losing their jobs if more of the businesses close down in 2021.
These businesses already collectively laid off 48 per cent of their staff in 2020.
“Unlike gyms and other enrichment programmes that can do online classes and still get some revenue, it’s impossible to conduct swimming lessons online and we have had zero revenue for six months or more.
“It is inevitable that more swim schools will be forced to close for good if we are not allowed to open immediately” said Dollah Said of Akedemi Aquaputra, one of the group’s members.
The group also outlined several standard operating procedures (SOPs) that the swimming pools can be allowed to operate under, including frequent testing of swimming pool chlorine levels to ensure the elimination of viruses and bacteria in the water.
It also suggested to limit the number of people in the pool to one person per square metre of the pool size.
The MCO was reintroduced on January 13 and has been extended twice, forcing many businesses and premises to close down in compliance with the restrictions imposed.
All sporting activities except for jogging and cycling with family members were initially banned.
However, last Thursday the restrictions were relaxed, allowing gyms and non-contact sports such as gold and tennis.
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