New NJ vaccine incentives: Win dinner with Murphy, parks ‘Vax Pass’
The chance to win a free dinner at the governor’s mansion was among new incentives to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19, announced on Wednesday by Gov. Phil Murphy at Island Beach State Park.
New Jersey adults (18 and older) who have received at least one dose of the vaccine in-state by the end of May can enter online to win dinner, along with a guest, with the governor and First Lady Tammy Murphy.
The meal would be hosted at the winner's choice of either Drumthwacket in Princeton or the governor's Shore residence at Island Beach State Park, Murphy said.
A free, full season "Vax Pass" also has been announced for the state's parks, a $50 value, for any resident who has received at least their first shot by July 4. That includes individuals already vaccinated, who can begin registering online for the incentive starting next week, on May 27 at a new website not yet live: nj.gov/vaxandvisit.
Out of the state’s 51 state parks, 18 require a parking or entrance fee, including Island Beach State Park and Cheesequake State Park.
The DEP would also provide refunds to residents who already purchased annual state park passes this year and have been fully vaccinated.
“We’ve got this virus on the run, so let’s get everybody into our parks to go for a run, to connect with each other,” acting commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection, Sean LaTourette, said at the same oceanside news conference.
A new twist along the lines of the "Beer and a Shot" incentive program also was unveiled, featuring at least nine wineries among the Garden State Wine Growers Association.
Through “Uncork the Vaccination," adults 21 and older who get their first vaccine dose within this month can take their vaccination card to a participating winery to receive a free glass of wine. All nine initial participating wineries included: Amalthea Cellars, Auburn Road Vineyards, Bellview Winery, DiMatteo Vineyards, Salem Oak Vineyards, Terhune Orchards, Tomasello Winery, Villa Milagro Vineyards and White Horse Winery.
There were 3.93 million fully vaccinated people in the state as of Wednesday, according to state data.
Eligibility for the vaccine was opened to all people 16 and older statewide on April 19.
Those who received first shots of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines within that following week or so just started receiving their second doses, after which full immunization would be reached two weeks later.
The state's goal, now dubbed "Operation Jersey Summer," has been to reach 4.7 million fully vaccinated adults by the end of June.