Praising the success of incentive programs in luring people to COVID-19 vaccination sites, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that Six Flags will give away 50,000 free theme park admission tickets to people who get vaccinated at select locations statewide.
Newsom made the announcement at a news conference at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, using the event not only to encourage vaccinations but to tout the reopening of the California economy and encourage a return to major attractions in the state such as Six Flags. On Tuesday, the day most of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, Newsom held an event at Universal Studios Hollywood.
“We took a sledge hammer to the entertainment industry in the last year because of the stay-at-home order, no one’s naïve,” Newsom said. “When we talk about California roaring back, there was one sector of our economy that was particularly impacted by this pandemic, and that was hospitality, restaurants and entertainment.
“… This is a sector we need to pay particular attention to,” Newsom said. “We need to be here not just when the cameras are here but long after to get this sector of our economy back on its feet.”
Newsom said the state is making a major investment to encourage a rejuvenation of tourism, and urged Californians to “rediscover their own state.” To help jump-start that effort while also encouraging vaccinations, Newsom announced the donation of 50,000 admission tickets for Six Flags theme parks available to people who get vaccinated at select locations.
The tickets are valid through Sept. 6 at any of Six Flags’ four parks in California — Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor in Valencia; Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo; or Hurricane Harbor Concord. Newsom said the tickets would be distributed at 65 vaccination locations. A full list is available at Covid19.ca.gov/Vax-For-The-Win.
The announcement is a continuation of an incentive program that was highlighted by Tuesday’s drawing of 10 winners of $1.5 million each. The state previously awarded $50,000 each to 30 randomly chosen residents who have been at least partially vaccinated. The state is also continuing to distribute $50 gift or grocery cards to people who receive their first dose of vaccine. Newsom said the state has distributed about 920,000 of the 2 million available cards.
On July 1, the state will hold another prize drawing for vaccinated residents, giving away six California vacation packages:
— a trip to Anaheim, with two-night stays at three different resorts, two-day park-hopper tickets to the Disneyland Resort, dinner at the Anaheim White House and a $500 gift certificate to South Coast Plaza;
— a stay at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live, with two floor seats to a Lakers game, four tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood and visits to The Broad, the California Science Center and the Natural History Museum;
— a two-night stay at the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, an 80-minute spa treatment for two and daily breakfast for two at State Fare Bar & Kitchen;
— a San Diego Beach Dream Vacation, featuring a five-night stay at Catamaran Resort Hotel, surf lessons, a series of dining gift certificates and tickets to the Padres, San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego and Legoland;
— a San Diego Downtown Dream Vacation, with a five-night stay at Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, four tickets to the San Diego Symphony, dining certificates, passes to the U.S.S. Midway Museum, a harbor tour, Padres tickets and visits to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and SeaWorld; and
— a five-night stay at the Hotel Nikko San Francisco, four San Francisco City Passes providing tickets to various attractions, dining packages at four luxury eateries such as Jaranita and Wilder, and four tickets to a Giants baseball game.
Individual counties and cities have also been offering localized incentives of their own. And in conjunction with Tuesday’s reopening of the economy, some other perks are on the table:
— the Los Angeles Clippers will provide vaccinated customers a 15% discount on team merchandise in its online store from Tuesday through Sunday; and
— the Staples Center Team LA Store will provide a 15% discount for vaccinated customers, also from Tuesday through Sunday.
Newsom insisted the incentive program has been effective.
“California lays claim to being one of the few states that actually has seen a week-over-week increase in vaccine doses — 1.13 million people received at least a dose of vaccine over the last seven days, 219,000 yesterday in the last reporting period,” Newsom said. “That’s a roughly 22% increase week- over-week in terms of vaccination rate, which is remarkable when you consider 72-plus percent of adults have already received one vaccine. But we cannot put down our guard.”