As everyone is painfully aware, President Cyril Ramaphosa as announced a nationwide lockdown from 00:00 Friday 2th March to 16 April 2020.

During this time only essential services and personnel are partially exempt from these restrictions. While Figure Skating may be “essential” to us, we sadly do not fall part of this exemption. The result of this lockdown on our sport is that nobody will be able to skate or attend training other than what they can do in their own homes.

The positive side to this is that we can all take a break from this sport which demands so much of our time and energy, enabling everyone to recharge and catch up on the non-skating part of our lives such as work and school.

SAFSA would like to urge all of our athletes to use this time constructively. Stay as active as you can during this time. Many of you will know what off-ice training you can and should be doing. It is inevitable that pretty much everyone will be a bit rusty when we eventually get to return to the rink. This is to be expected and we should all allow time to get back up to speed.

To reduce this time daily activity should be part of our lives for the next three weeks. Reach out to your coaches, friends, fellow skaters or anyone who will be able to help and encourage you while we are on a “break”. Keeping in (electronic) contact with everyone is vital to keep us sane and ward off boredom, so stay in touch with those who you regularly spend time with and possibly reach out to others who you do not regularly speak to.

Parents should also keep in mind that it is important for your skaters to stay active, in body and mind. Your kids are so used to living on tight schedules with pressure applied at every turn, be it skating, school, social lives and just trying to schedule everything. Give them this time to decompress and recuperate from the daily grind, but be sure to prevent “couch potato” syndrome from setting in. try and insist that they do some form of physical exercise daily and that they spend time on schoolwork as well. This will alleviate pressure from academics when the world starts turning again and everyone is playing catch-up. Keeping their minds occupied with schoolwork as well as chores, hobbies, reading, crafts etc. will pay dividends. Remember that they are on the go all the time and this sudden halt of activity could have adverse effects over the coming days and weeks.

Above all, PLEASE abide by the lockdown restrictions. Try and avoid any contact with people outside of your home as far as possible. Since it appears that there will be long waiting times at many stores, perhaps making fewer trips to buy food and supplies is a good idea. This will also reduce your exposure to others.

Stay safe and sane and we will all see each other in a few weeks.