All outdoor exercise has been banned in South Australia - could the UK do the same?

South Australia has implemented one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, introducing tough measures as part of a circuit breaker lockdown.

The new rules - passed under the Emergency Management (Covid-19) (Stay at Home) Direction 2020 - state that, for six days, only one person from a household will be allowed to leave, and for essential reasons only.

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State Premier, Steven Marshall, said, “We need this circuit breaker, this community pause.

“We are going hard and we are going early. Time is of the essence and we must act swiftly and decisively.”

The move comes after an outbreak of 22 Covid-19 cases emerged in the state. Authorities reported that a hotel cleaner contracted the virus from a quarantined traveller who had returned from the UK.

From there, the virus was spread to the cleaners extended family in Adelaide, the state’s capital city.

No outdoor exercise

The new rules have been outlined on the South Australian government website.

The announcement states, “The Stay at Home period will begin at 12.01 am on Thursday 19 November and will end on 12:01 am on Wednesday 25 November 2020.

“All people in South Australia will be required to Stay at Home for the entire period.”

The website stresses that “leaving the house to exercise is not permitted,” “recreational sport is not permitted,” and that residents cannot leave their homes to walk their dogs.

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For those who fail to comply with the new rules, fines of $1,060 will be issued to individuals, and $5,060 to businesses.

Could the UK bring in the same rules?

When Wales implemented its own circuit breaker lockdown in October, residents were also instructed to stay at home, except for limited purposes, such as collecting medicine and picking up food.

However, Welsh citizens were permitted to leave home to exercise.

Currently, England is in its second national lockdown, which was implemented on 5 November and will apply until Wednesday 2 December. During this lockdown, people are instructed not to leave their home except for specific purposes, but they are allowed to exercise.

“You are allowed to leave your home to exercise outdoors,” UK government advice explains.

“You should stay as local as possible, but can travel out of your local area if necessary (for example, to access an open space).”

In Scotland, a five tier lockdown system has been implemented, with a range of rules in place, depending on a specific location’s allocated tier. Across, all the tiers, exercise outdoors is still permitted. Tier four, which is the highest level, permits outdoor exercise, and for outdoor gyms to remain open as well.

In Northern Ireland, the government also states that outdoor exercise is currently permitted, adding that “outdoor, non-contact classes, consisting of no more than 15 people (including the instructor) are allowed.”

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In April, when the Covid-19 pandemic was just getting started, Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that outdoor exercise could be banned if people ignored social distancing rules. However, these measures have never been implemented or seriously considered since.

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