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Free pass to state parks offered to unvaccinated who agree to get a shot

Gov. Cuomo announced Monday that 16 state parks across the state will hold pop-up vaccine clinics this weekend

New York state is offering a new incentive to get more people vaccinated -- free passes to state parks this Memorial Day weekend.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, appearing at Jones Beach on Long Island, said Monday that unvaccinated New Yorkers going to a participating state park this weekend will be able to get a shot at a pop-up vaccine clinic. In exchange, they will receive a free two-day pass to all state-run parks in New York. 

“Stop, get a vaccine, you get a two-day free pass to come into any state park,” said Cuomo, who added the shots will be available at all 16 of the state’s parks that are participating.

It’s the second time in recent days that the governor has offered incentives to the unvaccinated. Those who get vaccinated at state-run sites through this coming Friday get a lottery ticket to become eligible for a $5 million drawing.  

Among New Yorkers 18 or older, 54.9% have received all of their required doses. But when children are counted, the total number of New Yorkers completely vaccinated stands at 44.1%, and the rate of vaccinations has stalled.  

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.