It has been two and half weeks since enhanced circuit breaker measures kicked in. Most runners and cyclists have had varying definitions of what “limiting outdoor exercises to the vicinity of your immediate neighbourhood” means. Some limit activities to a certain radius from home, some use the electoral division markers for their boundaries, and others ignore it completely. This is what happens with a broadly worded policy. But it is also probably intentional. It is difficult to implement and enforce social distancing measures. Setting clear definitions could lead to ground unhappiness from some quarters. We have already seen sporadic unhappiness from a few in the strict enforcement of wearing masks and the prohibition of having meals outside home. We probably have to be strict about critical measures such as the aforementioned two examples, unlike activities like exercising which the government still encourages its citizens to participate in. I have seen concerns about runners and cyclists posting activities on Strava that are clearly not within the vicinity of their immediate neighbourhoods but have not heard of any enforcement taken against. I suspect enforcement will be few and far between for such.
What matters in the end is understanding the spirit of the enhanced circuit breaker measures. COVID-19 is very hard to beat. We will have to live with some semblance of the virus active around us until a vaccine is mass produced and the community inoculated. The earliest we can expect this in is Q1 2021. In the mean time, the more vulnerable will be facing the risk of death, and measures to safeguard the community will result in the loss of livelihoods. Every additional day that we have to live under enhanced circuit breaker measures will result in hundreds, if not, thousands of jobs lost. I expect unemployment figures to spike after the government slows down its financial support to companies in June. The real economic bloodbath has yet to come. These are the thoughts I have in mind every time I step out of the house, whether be it to cycle, run or simply head to the supermarket – what can I do the limit the risk to the livelihoods of many?
This is why I have tried as far as possible to limit my activities. Cycling is now done indoors. Outdoor activities are limited to just three per month – the monthly 100km ride, 10km and 5km run, and these activities are kept within a 2km radius of my home and done alone. (I also have no option but to run outdoors given that I do not have a treadmill.)
While the 10km run is not an issue because it is easy to clock 10km within a 2km radius, the 100km ride requires slightly more than 13 laps on streets lined with traffic lights every 400m. The number of stop-starts is incredible, there is no real momentum in such rides. But I think such inconveniences are necessary. I have family, friends and neighbours worrying about their jobs. And this is the best I can do to ensure I do not disrupt their livelihoods.