From food and drink deals to a free pair of Brazilian leather shoes, more than two dozen Miami Beach businesses have agreed to offer discounts to those who get the COVID-19 vaccine at a state-run vaccination site across from City Hall.
The new vaccine-incentive program, organized by the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, will launch Monday and run until Memorial Day on May 31, said Chamber CEO Jerry Libbin.
People who get vaccinated at the walk-up site on 17th Street and Convention Center Drive will receive two coupons: one for a free drink that can be redeemed once and another for discounts at different stores and restaurants that can be redeemed at each location.
“If it’s wildly successful and the vendors agree, we’ll consider extending it,” Libbin said.
The boozy bargains have been dubbed “Shots for Shots,” and the other deals are called “Discounts for Shots.”
Mayor Dan Gelber, who asked the chamber to organize the program, said he hopes the incentives can help boost vaccination rates at the city’s only state-run site, which has fallen well short of exhausting its 250-shot daily capacity.
As of Thursday, the site had administered 1,554 doses since it opened April 24 for an average of about 120 shots per day, or 48% of the daily capacity.
“I know it’s a little bit different but I think it gets the point across, especially to a population we’re really trying to reach,” he said.
A total of 25 businesses will participate in the program, including Mango’s Tropical Cafe and TimeOut Market Miami.
“It’s just a motivator, really, to do the right thing,” said Mango’s owner David Wallack, whose Ocean Drive business will give out a free drink to those with proof of vaccination from the city site.
Wallack, who has offered his own employees $100 Publix gift cards for proof of vaccination, said the discounts alone won’t move the needle but the program should be part of a larger effort to get everyone vaccinated who can be.
“It’s not going to create a torrent [of vaccinations], but when you put enough drops together all of a sudden you fill a bucket,” Wallack said.
Jessica Knopff, owner of Sriracha House, said the Washington Avenue restaurant will offer those with proof of vaccination from the site near City Hall a free beer or bubble tea as part of the incentive program. Restaurant staff are also eligible for bonuses if they are vaccinated.
“We are super pro-vaccine and want everybody to get it,” she said.