The new rules for gyms and exercising under lockdown level 3 in South Africa

The Department of Sports, Arts and Culture has gazetted the new guidelines for the sector under the latest adjusted lockdown level 3. The guidelines detail what gyms, fitness centres and other sporting facilities need to have in place to continue operating.

The latest set of regulations follow the general guidelines set out by Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma last week, which includes mandatory mask-wearing and limits on the number of people venues can hold.

However, they also include specifics for gyms and fitness centres, which are allowed to remain open under lockdown.

This is unlike sports grounds and fields, which are closed to the public for the two week period ending 15 January 2021, as well as all beaches, dams, lakes, rivers and the associated recreational facilities at these places in hotspot areas in the country.

According to the department all beaches not closed to the public, as well as fitness centres, gyms, cinemas, theatres and museums will need to control access and keep sanitising products available – while people visiting these areas will have to wear masks.

Gyms and fitness centres

  • Gyms and equipment must be clean at all times to prevent the spread of the virus;
  • Cleaning personnel must be active during all operating hours;
  • All equipment – including mats – must be washed after every use;
  • People entering a gym or fitness centre must be wearing a mask – no mask, no entry;
  • Masks may be removed for vigorous exercise, but a distance of two metres must be maintained at all times;
  • Vigorous training equipment must be spaced a minimum of two metres apart;
  • Medium and low-intensity workouts must take place with a minimum distance of 1.5 metres at all times;
  • Studio classes are capped at the most a venue can hold while maintaining a two-metre distance between participants;
  • All social distancing spaces need to be clearly marked;
  • There must be a 30-minute window between sessions to allow for cleaning;
  • Venues must open windows during operating hours to allow for ventilation – or where a ventilation system is used, ensure filters are maintained and replaced regularly;
  • Saunas and steam rooms must be closed.

For exercise taking place outdoors, previous regulations have already stated that masks need to be worn in public places, unless doing vigorous exercise.

The same regulation of two metres distance between people in these spaces applies.


  • All sports fields and grounds are closed to the public;
  • Only sporting activities – including professional sports – arranged by recognised sporting bodies can take place;
  • No spectators are allowed to attend these events;
  • The only people allowed are: journalists, medical staff, venue staff, security personnel, and team support staff;
  • Only necessary or essential contingents of these permitted people are allowed to be present.


In line with the national regulations, the following is also in effect:

  • No alcohol may be sold or consumed;
  • All sport and fitness activity needs to fall outside the curfew hours of 21h00 to 06h00, with venues closing at 20h00;
  • Regulations, guidelines and venue capacities must be clearly indicated;
  • Any food facilities on-site need to adhere to regulations set out by the responsible department.

The full regulations are linked below:

Sports and Fitness Level 3 Jan 2021

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The new rules for gyms and exercising under lockdown level 3 in South Africa