Latest vaccination initiative features free two-day pass to any New York State park

Continuing the push to vaccinate New Yorkers against COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a new initiative on Monday dubbed ‘Shot in the Park’ that allows residents to receive a two-day family pass to any New York State park for getting a vaccination this week.

Northwell Health will be partnering with the state at Long Island state parks to set up vaccination sites, the governor said as he spoke from Jones Beach, which will be one of the 16 parks for Memorial Day weekend where people can get vaccinated.

“State parks have been rejuvenated,” Mr. Cuomo said. “People have discovered our state parks. … Last year, 78 million people went to state parks. Set a new record. On Long Island, 32 million people went to state parks.”

Anyone who gets vaccinated with either a first dose or single dose of Johnson & Johnson anywhere in the state between May 24 and May 31 is eligible to receive the two-day pass, which is valid through Sept. 30, 2021.

“Get a vaccine, you get a free two-day pass to any state park,” Mr. Cuomo said.

While Jones Beach has already been a vaccination site, the other 15 state parks will become new pop-up locations. The sites will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on a first come, first serve basis.

State parks in Suffolk County that will serve as the pop-up location are Heckscher State Park on June 5 and Sunken Meadow State Park on May 29 and May 31.

More information on state parks can be found here. There are 181 state parks where residents can use their two-day pass. They can show confirmation of their eligible vaccination at any of those state parks to receive the free pass. Passes can be used for parking and beach and pool privileges throughout the state’s parks network, according to the governor’s office.

The latest initiative comes after the governor last week announced a program where residents 18 or older can receive a free New York State lottery scratch-off ticket with a grand prize of $5 million. The pilot program only includes those who get vaccinations at the SUNY Stony Brook location on Long Island. There are 10 site across the state participating in the program.

Prizes for the scratch-off range from $20 up to $20,000 for third and $50,000 for second before the $5 million grand prize. The governor said there are 1 in 9 odds to win a prize.

The initiatives come as vaccination rates continue to decline with now fewer than 100,000 per day, a 55% decline.

“We’re doing everything we can to make getting a vaccine as quick and easy as possible, but as vaccination rates slow across the state, we’re going to have to get creative to put even more shots in arms,” Mr. Cuomo said last week.

The governor on Monday said Long Island has the highest vaccination rate of any region in New York with nearly 69% of adults have received at least one dose. Data published by the state Department of Health Monday shows Nassau County has a higher rate than Suffolk. More than 73% of Nassau residents age 18 or older have gotten at least one shot compared to just under 66% in Suffolk.

The statewide positivity rate on a seven-day average now stands at 0.9%, the lowest since Sept. 21, the governor said. It marks 49 straight days of decline.

“Isn’t that great news,” he said.

The positivity rate for Long Island is at 0.7%, the lowest since Aug. 29. Specifically for Suffolk County, the latest positivity rate is 0.8%.

“It’s not over,” the governor said of COVID-19. “We are managing it by what we are doing. And the tool that manages it is the vaccination.”

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