April 25, 2020 / 12:28 PM / a month ago

Poland to reopen outdoor playgrounds as it eases sports curbs

A man lays on the grass in the Lazienki Royal Park after loosening of the lockdown measures by the government due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Warsaw, Poland April 20, 2020. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland plans to reopen outdoor sports areas on May 4 and will allow top league football matches to be played at the end of next month, as part of an easing of restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Poland started relaxing some of the curbs earlier in April, saying they were costly for the economy. It has reopened forests and parks and eased rules on the number of customers in shops.

By Saturday, the European Union member state of 38 million had reported 11,067 cases and 499 deaths.

“Sport is an important part of the national economy, which contributes to improving health and we are aware how important it is to restore normality,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told a news conference on Saturday.

He added that the next stage of easing sport restrictions would include reopening indoor sports halls, followed by swimming pools and fitness clubs.

Poland will also allow for top league soccer games without spectators at the end of May and for speedway races in mid-June.

Morawiecki said that two specialised sports centres would be launched for Polish athletes preparing for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which have been postponed until 2021.

“I hope our sportspeople will come back from the Olympics with a bag full of medals,” Sports Minister Danuta Dmowska-Andrzejuk said at the news conference.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko and Pawel Florkiewicz, editing by Ros Russell

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