Free Six Flags tickets offered for COVID-19 shots in Illinois

Free Six Flags tickets offered for COVID-19 shots in Illinois

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a donation of $4 million in Six Flags tickets will be used as an incentive to get more Illinoisans their COVID-19 vaccinations. The 50,000 tickets will be targeted to minority communities.

Get a COVID-19 shot, get a free roller coaster ride at Six Flags, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced May 13.

Six Flags Great America donated 50,000 free tickets to newly vaccinated Illinois residents – an incentive to boost vaccination rates. The tickets worth $4 million are good for the amusement parks in Gurnee and Rockford, Illinois, and will target minority communities Pritzker said “have historically seen less investment” and that might get a shot with a little incentive.

Tickets will be available along with immunizations at the Gurnee park June 5-6. If the turnout is high, vaccinations will be offered over other weekends. Other tickets will be distributed by local health departments and other community groups throughout the Chicago region.

On May 14 Illinois entered the “Bridge Phase” Pritzker added to his original five-phase plan to reopen the Illinois economy. He has said Illinois should fully reopen June 11.

Pritzker on May 13 said the state will follow new CDC guidelines on social distancing and masks. The CDC lifted mask and distance restrictions on fully vaccinated people outdoors and in most indoor locations, but not on planes, mass transit, homeless shelters or jails. Indoor facilities such as workplaces are freed of the restrictions and restaurants and bars do not need to count vaccinated patrons against their capacity counts.

Reopening can’t happen soon enough for Illinois’ economy, which still had more than 450,000 idled workers collecting unemployment as of May 8. The state reported May 13 that 62% of residents have had at least one shot and 36.5% are fully vaccinated. The COVID-19 seven-day positive test rate was at 2.7%.

The Pfizer vaccine on May 12 was approved for ages 12 to 15, which is expected to create a new bump up in vaccinations after the pace had slowed.

Illinois has been slower to reopen than many other states. Fifteen lifted all restrictions by the end of March, including nearby Missouri and Iowa. Even New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will lift most restrictions by May 19, news of which led to a surge in retail stocks.

Incentive partnerships similar to the free Six Flags tickets are popping up in other states. Ohio recently decided to give away $1 million to one vaccinated resident every week for five weeks. Detroit is giving $50 prepaid gift cards to those who provide transportation to residents for their shots.

New Jersey has a “Shot and a Beer” program that offers free beers to eligible vaccinated residents. Illinois state lawmakers floated the idea of a “free beer” for COVID-19 shots as well.

Bringing Illinois back to business is vital for the state’s economy, and health experts have said high vaccination rates are key to safely reopening elements of the economy residents have missed, including events and attractions.

“I know it’s been a difficult year,” Pritzker said. “But that just makes it all the more exciting to be back at the park. Thanks to the life-saving power of vaccinations, it feels once again like summer’s in the air.”

That air will still come through a mask for those getting their shots at Six Flags: Pritzker’s mask mandates continue until two weeks after the second COVID-19 shot.

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