LOS ANGELES — On the eve of California’s vast reopening, the state offered some big-ticket items to encourage more residents to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced six dream vacation packages as part of the state’s Vax for the Win incentive program in an effort to keep building momentum for vaccination efforts.
Californians 18 and older who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will have a chance to win one of six getaways in the Golden State during a drawing July 1. Eligible Californians are automatically entered in the lottery.
Among the destinations are seeing the Giants play in San Francisco, enjoying a spa in Palm Springs, visiting Disneyland in Anaheim, enjoying floor seats at a Lakers game in Los Angeles and learning how to surf in San Diego.
Packages include hotels, food and entertainment for up to four people. Winners will also receive $2,000 for expenses.
The latest incentives are part of what appears to be the largest inoculation incentive in the nation: the chance for 10 residents to win $1.5 million apiece as well as 30 additional awards of $50,000 each. The $50,000 drawings have already been held; the $1.5-million drawings will take place Tuesday.
The vacation prize announcement comes a day before California lifts its coronavirus-related capacity restrictions and physical distancing requirements at almost all institutions. Those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will also be able to remove their face masks in most nonwork situations.
Newsom said the incentive program has already reaped benefits. There has been a 14% increase in administered vaccine doses since it launched May 27.
As of Monday, 56.3% of Californians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to The Times’ vaccination tracker. Of that group, 47.1% are fully vaccinated with both doses of either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Newsom acknowledged that more needs to be done to protect the state against potential new surges and variants before the pandemic is officially gone.