Who says the performing arts cannot join the fight against Covid-19?
The newly-built Petaling Jaya Performing Arts Centre (PJPac), which had its official launch postponed in May because of the pandemic situation, has now been converted into a full-fledged industry vaccination centre (PPVIN) equipped with comprehensive facilities and professional healthcare providers, with the capacity to administer 1,000 vaccines daily.
The performing arts venue, located at 1Utama shopping centre in Petaling Jaya, has been closed since May 7 due to the movement control order (MCO). But that didn’t stop this new creative arts hub from playing a role in the national vaccination rollout.
“We realised with the tightening of SOPs in May 2021 that we needed to do something to hasten the reopening of businesses of all industries.
“We believe it’s through the vaccination of all Malaysians that we can achieve herd immunity in order for all industries to reopen and operate again,” says Brian Kwan, PJPac’s theatre manager.
“PJPac’s staff would also be fully vaccinated by the end of this exercise and we hope this will bring confidence to our potential hirers and audience that they will be entering a safe venue,” he adds.
The 2,752sq m venue takes up three floors, with a 686-seater proscenium main theatre (Stage 1), a 300-capacity Black Box, the Nero Event Space and the 1ncubator Studio.
PJPac started its new role as a vaccination centre on July 27 for retail tenants and mall frontliners and will continue for 42 days until Sept 7. The arts venue's staff is also helping to manage the space during this vaccination drive.
Kwan says the goal of this by-appointment-only inoculation drive is to vaccinate 100 people per hour, 1,000 per day.
“By the end of the PPVIN period, we hope to have 21,000 people fully vaccinated... 21 days for the first dose, another 21 days for the second dose,” says Kwan.
He also sees the potential of other performing arts venues in the country to join the fight against the pandemic and play a role in speeding up the vaccination rollout.
“With the current SOP listed in the National Recovery Plan, performing arts venues and live events with audiences are only allowed when Phase 4 is activated.
“Since that is the case, why not do our part and try to get us all to Phase 4 as soon as possible. Thus, being a PPVIN is our way of fighting for the reopening of our space.
“We hope to see more arts practitioners be fully vaccinated and then we can call for the return of live performances with fully vaccinated performers, staff and audience,” says Kwan.
The idea to convert PJPac into a PPVIN under the Retail Industry Vaccination Program (RiVAC) was mooted by Tan Sri Teo Chiang Kok, president of the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association (PPK) and director of 1Utama shopping centre.
The initiative is done in collaboration with the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) and National Covid-19 Immunization Task Force (CITF).
Malaysia recorded 17,405 new Covid-19 cases yesterday (July 28), the Health Ministry announced.
The country’s total cumulative cases has now reached 1,061,476.
Selangor remained the state with the most cases, recording 7,171 new infections on July 28.