One of the largest music venues in the District reopened for the first time in more than a year — but not for live music.
Unity Health Care, I.M.P. Concerts and the Associated Builders and Contractors of Metro Washington partnered together to use The Anthem at the Wharf in Southwest as a pop-up vaccination site.
Their target audience is the 1,300 construction workers who are currently working on phase two of The Wharf.
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“Men and women who work in these construction sites are critical to our economy. They’re critical to getting people back to work and improving the whole situation. But they are also working in close proximity to each other,” said Vince Keane, president and CEO of Unity Health Care.
Keane said the original plan was to administer the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine, so they had to make some hectic last-minute changes.
“You just have to roll with the punches, and the J&J situation is nothing we could control,” Keane said.
For Audrey Fix Schaefer with I.M.P. Concerts, walking back into The Anthem after a year was emotional.
The vaccinated population in D.C. may be overestimated in this map because some non-residents who work in D.C. are included in the totals.
“I cried walking in. Not just because I haven’t been here in so long and see it brought to life, but, more importantly, because this is a moment where it really can save lives. Watching all the people in line to get their vaccines, it feels like a miracle,” Schaefer said.
Debbie Livingston, president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors Metro Washington, said they’ve surpassed their original goal of vaccine doses.
“Our goal was 40%. We didn’t know what to expect and we’ve exceeded 50%, so we’re thrilled,” Livingston said.
While the workers who spoke with News4 expressed concerns after the issue with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, they said they weren’t going to pass up the opportunity to be vaccinated.
“We would like to do a lot more of the vaccine sites because we’ve got the space, we have the people who know how to move people in and out of buildings. We want to do everything we can to help get the city back to normal and vaccines are the way,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer said she knows it will be a while before live music returns to The Anthem and 9:30 Club, but she hopes the venues will continue to provide support to the community.