• Starting from 1 May, South Africans can walk, cycle and run in their neighbourhoods from 06:00 to 09:00.
  • Lawyers believe they are required to wear masks while out. 
  • You probably won't be able to exercise with a group of friends, but could venture out with another person.   
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

After five long weeks, South Africans will finally be allowed to exercise outside their residences from 1 May.

Gyms, public swimming pools, beaches, public parks as well as sports grounds and fields remain closed, but you will be allowed to walk, cycle and run between 06:00 and 09:00 daily.

READ | Lockdown level 4: What will now be allowed

Here’s what you need to know about the exercise rules:

How far can you go?

According to new regulations, published on Wednesday night, you must keep within a 5km radius of your residence.   

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that people should preferably stay in their neigbourhoods.

Do you have to wear a mask?

According to the new regulations, South Africans must wear a cloth face mask, a homemade item, or “another appropriate item” that covers your nose and mouth when in a public place.

Walkers, runners and joggers are not in a public place (unless they decide to walk in a mall) but to avoid any doubt the wearing of a face mask is sensible, says Roy Bregman, director of Bregman Moodley Attorneys in Johannesburg.

READ | Here are our favourite South African online exercise programmes for lockdown

Who can exercise with you?

The regulations say that running, walking and cycling in “an organised group” is not allowed. But do you have to exercise on your own?

"The Regulations do not specify what constitutes an 'organised group'. In order to interpret this term, one must, therefore, have regard to the ordinary grammatical meaning of the term 'organised', together with the purpose of the Regulations, namely to limit the spread of Covid-19,” says Helen Michael, director at the law firm Werksmans Attorneys.

“In our view, therefore, an 'organised group' would include any scheduled exercise with a third party, including formal races, park runs or events scheduled by clubs or other organisations. Informal exercise arrangements between groups of people, including persons residing in different houses would in our view also qualify as ‘organised groups.

“Arguably, however, persons residing together may run, walk or cycle together as no additional risk exists that persons, who already reside together, will spread Covid-19 to one another as a result of exercising together.”

Since a group can constitute two people, one would have to assume that a group of two or more people is prohibited, says Christoff Pretorius, senior associate at Adams & Adams.

Bregman says friends who walk informally as a group, may not be allowed. “But I don't think that there is anything wrong with a couple walking, running or cycling together, as long as they observe the social distancing protocols.”

Cape Town attorney Simon Dippenaar says that two people together should still be in order, but more than that is a “grey zone”. He adds that the police seem to be interpreting regulations “very restrictively” during lockdown.

READ | Virtual cycling apps are helping riders keep fit during SA lockdown – here’s three we like.

Can you take your dog with you?

Yes. But you may have to be careful about handling an overexcited, massive dog that has been cooped up for five weeks.

How excitable your dog will be will depend on how often they were used to going out for a walk, a Johannesburg veterinarian told Business Insider. If your dog only went out every couple of weeks, it may not be such a big deal. For dogs used to daily walks, being let out could see a surge in excitement, and perhaps uncontrollable reactions, especially around other dogs.

If you are nervous about how your dog will react, it may be best to wait until Saturday or Sunday before you go out, she says.

A big rush of people is expected on Friday, the first day that people will be allowed out in five weeks. “There will be many people around in the neighbourhood, so perhaps wait until excitement dies down.”

Alternatively, do a bit of exercise with your dog before going out – like throwing them a ball. “This will help tire your dog out, and may help prevent them getting overexcited in the street.”

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