State officials introduced another COVID-19 vaccine incentive program Monday, offering six expenses-paid vacations throughout the state, including in San Francisco.
The state will select six winners on July 1 for trips for four in San Francisco, Palm Springs, Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Diego. In addition to multi-night hotel stays and dining and entertainment options, each vacation package also comes with a $2,000 cash prize that can be used for expenses during the vacation.
The ”Golden State Getaways” packages are the state's latest gambit to encourage more residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19, along with millions of dollars in cash prize drawings and food and merchandise deals with brands like Taco Bell, Chipotle, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors.
Approximately 72 percent of the state's adults have received at least one vaccine dose, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday during a briefing at the Port of San Francisco.
”We have seen, week over week, a 14 percent increase in administered doses since we initiated the vaccination incentives,” he said, adding that state officials are”confident these vaccine incentives have worked.”
Santa Clara County's mass vaccination site at Levi's Stadium is closing June 24, when it is expected to have administered more than 350,000 doses.
It is one of four mass vaccine sites that will close within the next few weeks as COVID cases slow and more than 80 percent of eligible residents are inoculated with at least one shot.
””The move comes amidst an optimistic COVID-19 outlook in the county...as vaccine supply remains sufficient and demand for large-scale vaccination sites lessens,” the county's public health department said in a statement.
Last week, the mass vaccination site at Berger Drive closed. On July 7, the site at Gilroy High School is scheduled to close. The Mountain View site is also set to close, but a date has not been announced.
The only mass vaccination site poised to stay open is at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.
The Levi's Stadium site was the largest in the county, and one of the largest in the state with the capacity to inoculate nearly 12,000 people in a day.
“We felt it was important that we play a role in helping to protect our community against COVID-19 and we're proud to have been able to do that for the past several months,” said 49ers President Al Guido. This was a significant operation and we are so appreciative of everyone's shared commitment to our community.”
Individuals who have received only their first dose of a two-dose vaccine at the stadium by the time the site closes will be able to arrange their second appointment at any other site in the county.
For additional sites, drop-in locations, appointments and all things vaccine, visit sccfreevax.org or call 211.
The vacation packages are also an effort to aid the state's beleaguered tourism and travel industry, which ground nearly to a halt over the last 15 months of the pandemic.
According to Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta, the pandemic erased more than 55 percent of the state's $145 billion per year tourism industry overnight.
It will also take roughly four years for the tourism industry to return to 2019 levels, according to Beteta.
“One of the key issues for us to get back on track and shorten this recovery curve is to encourage Californians to travel in California,” she said.”It's like a modern-day act of patriotism if we can spend those dollars here.”
In San Francisco, the vacation package winners will receive a five-night stay at the Hotel Nikko in Union Square, meals at La Mar, Jaranita, Wilder, Westwood and One Market and four tickets to a San Francisco Giants game at Oracle Park.
All state residents age 18 and older who have received at least one vaccine dose will be eligible for the vacation package drawings. Vaccinated residents are automatically entered into the drawings.
Information on the state's vaccination incentives can be found at this website.