Live entertainers need clearer SOPs to resume

by AZALEA AZUAR / pic credit:

MOST sectors are allowed to reopen now that the Klang Valley has entered Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan, including live performances.

Live shows like concerts, stand-up comedies and plays can resume with a 50% audience capacity.

Many industry players have welcomed the reopening of the live arts and cultural industry but they still seek much clearer and concise standard operating procedures (SOPs).

LOL Asia founder and CEO Rizal Kamal said many in the industry are excited to go back to work but some are concerned about their health and safety and whether the SOPs would keep changing.

He said over the past 19 months, the changes have been very fluid, which was very tiring and troublesome.

“In the end, they seemed to have lost faith in the live entertainment industry.

“The last few times the gaps were small in the sense that when they did open, they had about maybe two, three months before it was potentially locked down again,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.

However, Rizal said his phone had been ringing non-stop since the government announced the reopening of live entertainment as everyone was eager to get back to work.

Rizal cited the SOPs for live entertainment implemented in Singapore which Malaysia could emulate.

While Malaysia only allows fully vaccinated audiences, Rizal said Singapore has implemented pre-event testing for unvaccinated individuals.

“For those who are vaccinated, Covid-19 testing is not required. Whether many would return to watch the live shows would depend on their confidence.

“This would be not just for live shows but also for dining at restaurants and catching a movie at the cinema, where people are willing to take the risk for the sake of returning to normalcy as soon as possible,” he added.

Rizal also explained that in this pandemic, which will soon become endemic, everyone would have to deal with risks every time they go out and would eventually get used to it.

Malaysian Buskers Club president Wady Hamdan also expressed his gratitude towards the government for allowing indoor busking.

During the lockdown, he said buskers had to think outside the box to adapt to the current situation and one of them was virtual busking, but it was not enough for them to earn a living.

Wady said buskers had formulated their own indoor busking SOPs before it was approved by the National Security Council.

Previously, to support the buskers, the government allowed them to busk at mass vaccination centres (PPVs), but now they are allowed to entertain the public inside malls, restaurants and airports.

“We could start as soon as possible at Avenue K, which is at our regular place, and we are required to show the management that all our buskers have been fully vaccinated and create a schedule for the buskers,” he said.

Wady believed that buskers do not only provide entertainment, but they could also help to remind the public to adhere to SOPs and raise awareness.

“Since they can engage the public, buskers can provide community service by reminding the public about wearing face masks and keeping a safe distance between each other,” he said.

Meanwhile, Istana Budaya welcomed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s announcement to reopen the creative industry beginning Sept 9.

The cultural centre places great emphasis on the vaccination status of its staff from production management, stage crew, technical to receptionists to ensure everyone is well protected.

Moreover, Istana Budaya’s staff who are still working as MyVAC volunteers at the PPVs would be able to resume their duties after the country’s vaccination rate reaches its target.

It has made preparations for seven performances, both recorded and live including “Konsert Rentak Kita”, “Konsert Patriotik Tanah Airku”, “Konsert NSO bersama Bintang”, “Gamelan Gema Gangsa” and “Wayang”, which is about “Wayang Kulit” or shadow puppets.

Beginning next month, Istana Budaya would also resume its programmes which had been cancelled and postponed last year.