In California, get a vaccination, ride a roller coaster

Jun 16, 2021, 2:57 PM | Updated: 8:01 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California is giving away more goodies to people who get coronavirus vaccinations and plans to make it easier to show who has been inoculated as health officials and businesses encourage people to get their shots so they can fully partake in the state’s newly reopened economy.

A day after giving away $1.5 million each to 10 vaccinated jackpot winners, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced a new incentive: Six Flags locations are giving free tickets to 50,000 Californians 12 and up who get at least their first vaccine dose at certain clinic locations. The tickets provided by Six Flags Entertainment Corp. are worth $4.5 million.

The new giveaway comes after the state promised to pay 2 million people $50 each in the form of gift cards to get shots and awarded $50,000 each to 30 vaccinated people drawn at random. The incentives doled out in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s full reopening of the economy totaled $116.5 million.

Critics of the Democratic governor, including his Republican opponents in an upcoming recall election, have panned the state-funded promotions and Newsom’s overall handling of the pandemic. They say he was too quick to impose restrictions on personal freedoms and business activities and too slow to loosen them.

During an event at Six Flags Magic Mountain just outside Los Angeles, Newsom defended the promotions, saying they have increased vaccinations at a time when more was needed to get people to overcome reservations or inertia. He also acknowledged that he has been having fun acting as a gameshow host at the lottery-style drawings, even as he insisted he is also focused on negotiating a state budget and preparing for a drought-driven wildfire season.

Newsom said he hoped to personally call one of the $1.5 million winners Wednesday if officials could find a way around various privacy rules.

“You know what? There’s nothing more fun than feeling like you’re Oprah — a million dollars for you, a million dollars for you, a million for you, $50,000 for you,” Newsom said.

It’s also been rewarding to learn how some will spend the money, he said, recalling how a 17-year-old winner from a struggling immigrant family can now use the money for college. He then joined others in riding a roller coaster at the theme park.

A list of the participating vaccination sites is available at The tickets are good through Sept. 6 at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Hurricane Harbor Concord and Hurricane Harbor Los Angeles.

Newsom earlier said the state this week will also unveil a way for people to show that they have been vaccinated without having to carry their paper vaccination card.

“It’s not a passport, it’s not a requirement,” Newsom said Monday. “It’s just the ability now to have an electronic version of that paper version.”

Both Hawaii and New York have variations on a state-sponsored program.

Newsom’s office did not provide more details. California Retailers Association President and CEO Rachel Michelin said the governor’s staff told her organization that “they’re working on something, but it’s not ready to be released.”

State worksite regulators are poised to approve new rules Thursday that, among other things, no longer require fully vaccinated employees to wear masks in most circumstances.

Employers would be required to document that workers who don’t wear masks indoors are indeed fully vaccinated, under the pending California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board rules.

But employers would have a choice: requiring workers to show proof of vaccination, or allowing employees to self-attest to their vaccination status, with the employer keeping a record of who self-attests.

It’s difficult to say if the state’s electronic version would be helpful to employers trying to verify the vaccine status of customers and workers, said both Michelin and Robert Moutrie, a policy advocate at the California Chamber of Commerce.

“The issue of how to verify and keep a record of a person’s vaccination status, while respecting their privacy and complying with applicable laws, is certainly a difficult area that many employers are struggling to get sorted out as we re-open and Cal/OSHA’s new regulation relies on vaccination records,” Moutrie said.

Even if the state’s electronic version is voluntary, people may be reluctant to download another app or have privacy issues with showing the card, Michelin said. That extends to whether it would be helpful under the state’s pending workplace rules.

Worksite regulators, she said, need to “clearly specify what an employer has to do in terms of keeping on file documentation for vaccine verification.”

Many businesses seem inclined to allow employees to self-attest that they have been vaccinated, she said, if only so they can avoid creating a medical record by keeping copies of vaccination cards. And there can be penalties for lying — employees could potentially be fired for dishonesty, Michelin said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Serhiy Shvets, an employee at Europe's largest Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, talks to the Assoc...
Associated Press

Ukraine nuclear workers recount abuse, threats from Russians

ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine (AP) — Alone in his apartment in the Russian-occupied city of Enerhodar in southeastern Ukraine, nuclear plant security guard Serhiy Shvets looked out his kitchen window in late May and saw gunmen approaching on the street below. When his buzzer rang, he was sure he was about to die. Shvets, a former soldier […]
23 hours ago
FILE - A road is completely filled with a tall pile of debris from destroyed beachfront homes and b...
Associated Press

Ian deals blow to Florida’s teetering insurance sector

Daniel Kelly and his wife bought a 1977 doublewide mobile home in May for about $83,000 at Tropicana Sands, a community for people 55 and older in Fort Myers, Florida. But he ran into roadblocks when he tried to insure it. Managers at Tropicana Sands told him he likely wouldn’t be able to find a […]
23 hours ago
FILE - This undated photo provided by The Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows John Henry Ram...
Associated Press

Texas inmate who fought prayer, touch rules to be executed

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas death row inmate whose case clarified the role of spiritual advisers in death chambers nationwide is scheduled for execution Wednesday, despite efforts by a district attorney to stop his lethal injection. John Henry Ramirez, 38, was sentenced to death for killing 46-year-old Pablo Castro, a convenience store clerk, in 2004. […]
23 hours ago
A customer looks at refrigerated items at a Grocery Outlet store in Pleasanton, Calif.,. on Thursda...
Associated Press

‘Best Before’ labels scrutinized as food waste concerns grow

As awareness grows around the world about the problem of food waste, one culprit in particular is drawing scrutiny: “best before” labels. Manufacturers have used the labels for decades to estimate peak freshness. Unlike “use by” labels, which are found on perishable foods like meat and dairy, “best before” labels have nothing to do with […]
23 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden attends an event to support legislation that would encourage domestic ma...
Associated Press

Can Biden save democracy one US factory job at a time?

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is working to create a manufacturing revival — even helping to put factory jobs in Republican territory under the belief it can restore faith in U.S. democracy. The latest development came Tuesday, when chipmaker Micron announced an investment of up to $100 billion over the next 20-plus years to […]
23 hours ago
FILE - People stand on the destroyed bridge to Pine Island as they view the damage in the aftermath...
Associated Press

Biden to focus on hurricane victims in Florida, not politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will visit hurricane-ravaged Florida with a pledge that federal, state and local governments will work as one to help rebuild homes, businesses and lives — putting politics on mute for now to focus on those in need. Hurricane Ian has resulted in at least 84 people confirmed dead, including […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
In California, get a vaccination, ride a roller coaster