MANILA - Cinemas and convention halls inside some SM malls have been converted into COVID-19 vaccination sites, the mall chain's president said Monday.
The SM Group has partnered with several local governments so that their respective inoculation programs may be done in malls, SM Supermalls President Steven Tan told ANC's Headstart.
"We have 30 vaccination sites already across the country from Tuguegarao all the way down to Butuan City in Mindanao," he said.
"We offered areas like the cinemas, the activity centers, the convention centers. We repurposed them and made them as vaccination sites," he said.
While some vaccination sites in SM Malls accept walk-in individuals "towards the afternoon," it would be better if the public would schedule their inoculation through their respective local government's online registration portal, he said.
SM Supermalls is trying to negotiate a deal with the Mandaluyong City government to use SM Megamall's 10,000-square-meter Megatrade Hall as a vaccination site, Tan said.
"We could be running this for 4 to 6 months, but in the future, this could be an annual thing," he said.
"You have to have those booster shots," he said.
Last year, malls were among the businesses hit by the limitations in public movement to curb the spread of COVID-19.
In May 2020, several mall executives said only 30 percent of tenants opened shop, while foot traffic dropped to 10 to 25 percent.
In January 2021, SM Supermalls said it would continue building 5 to 7 malls every year until 2024 despite disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.