Restarting with vaccine passports.
With 33.9% of the Malaysian population receiving 2 vaccine doses at this stage (18 Aug 2021), a small glimmer of hope has been sighted on the horizon. Allowances for the fully vaccinated are now being phased in, with the goal of helping a sense of normality to return and the wider economic recovery effort. But there are still concerns and considerations around the issue of vaccine certificates or passports.
Can limiting freedoms for the unvaccinated motivate the vaccine-hesitant to get their jabs?
Will the focus on mandating vaccine passports and allowing freedoms only for the fully vaccinated create two classes of citizens, threatening individual freedoms, health privacy and the free flow of commerce?
These are valid questions that need to be navigated, but for now, it’s best for businesses to stay informed on vaccine passport regulations and the possible web of privacy and data security concerns wherever they operate while trying to serve as many members of the community as they safely can.
In this context, what are the recovery steps we can take together, through vaccine passports, to help restart our local economy, especially the long-dormant travel and hospitality sectors?
Although many top travel destinations in the country are currently located in Phase 1 states, we can still take a look at the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC)’s proposed COVID-19-Free destination programme. Once vaccination rates have achieved target levels, this will kick off with Langkawi and Kuching, to be followed by destinations such as Redang, Pulau Perhentian, Pangkor and Tioman and key tourism hubs in Johor, Melaka, Penang and Sabah.
We can already see intrepid entrepreneurs seizing this opportunity, such as the two local companies proposing exclusive vaccinated tour packages branded MyVakcation, that would bring fully vaccinated tourists to visit Langkawi.
Explore your city
While those in Phase 2 and 3 states are already allowed to start intrastate tourism activities, those of us in Phase 1 states can still make plans for travelling once we achieve Phase 2 status.
You’ve endured the challenges posed by a once-in-a-century pandemic, now it could be time to take in a view of your home state or city that you’ve never seen.
For example, in Selangor, a mini road trip to Sekinchan or Kuala Selangor to experience the ‘Sky Mirror’ should be on your bucket list. If you don’t own a car, you can still enjoy the experience of driving yourself by booking a car from a car-sharing platform like SOCAR or even get a driver for the day for your own car via TREVO’s Buddy Driver service.
Return of sporting and outdoor activities
The pure joy and health benefits of participating in outdoor, sports and workout activities is an important component of mental wellbeing and overall physical health.
From walks in the park to rigorous treks to gym and studio workouts, vaccine allowances can help us recover our sanity, health and also the livelihoods of those in the outdoor, sporting activities and wellness industries.
Fully vaccinated sports fans could also be allowed into stadiums and arenas again – such as the capacity crowds that we’ve seen allowed in the English Premier League and other football leagues that are phasing in crowds into their stadiums.
Dining out and socialising
If you’re a naturally social animal, you may have missed hanging out at bars and going to the cinema with a group of friends. With dining out now allowed in Phase 2 and 3 states, those who are fully vaccinated could be seeing the return of gatherings at our favourite watering hole or be able to catch the latest blockbuster after a prolonged stint as a homebody.
Whatever we do, for those of us who are able to embrace a little bit of ‘Merdeka’ this August, let’s aim to stay safe in all the ways we can.
This difficult pandemic reminds us to appreciate our life and wellbeing more. At SOCAR and TREVO, in the spirit of Malaysia Can Overcome, we fully support efforts to help Malaysians overcome this difficult time, including helping Malaysians arrive safely and conveniently at their vaccination appointment and rewarding those who have been fully vaccinated.