New Yorkers who get vaccinated against COVID-19 this week will receive a free two-day pass to any state park, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
The state’s week-long Shot in the Park program is the latest of several recent incentives to encourage every person ages 16 and older to get the life-saving shot to protect themselves, and others, from the novel coronavirus.
Any person receiving a first dose or single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine at any location in the state will receive a free two-day park pass valid through Sept. 30.
The program started Monday and runs one week through Memorial Day, or Monday, May 31.
“State parks have been rejuvenated,” Cuomo said Monday during a coronavirus briefing at Jones Beach State Park on Long Island. “People have discovered our state parks and partially our work rejuvenating them. ...So we’re going to use those state parks, use Memorial Day, enjoy the park, come get a vaccine.”
Eligible New Yorkers can pick up their pass at any of New York’s 181 state parks by showing confirmation of their vaccination.
Passes can be used for parking, beach and pool privileges throughout the state’s parks network, which includes 67 beaches and 35 pool and splash pads.
“We have a lot oto be thankful for, let’s take advantage of this proposal to get the vaccines we still need and enjoy the benefits that state parks like this one make available to all of us,” Sen. John Brooks, D-Long Island, said during Monday’s briefing. “So for all of you that have gotten your vaccine, thank you. For those of you who are unsure, look around — look around that everything that we have to offer protect yourself to make sure you can continue to enjoy those benefits.”
More than 78 million people visited New York parks in 2020, Cuomo said — a new record as visitors flocked to open, outdoor spaces for a safe, socially distant activity during the coronavirus pandemic.
Monday’s new incentive is one of several programs to persuade as many New Yorkers as possible to get vaccinated against COVID-19, including free tickets to a Yankees or Mets baseball game or $5 million lottery ticket.
Most North Country residents and other upstaters would have to travel several hours to get vaccinated at a site to be eligible for the previous incentives, which were largely targeted to downstate or New York City residents and locations.
Fifteen state parks will serve as pop-up mass vaccination sites, including Belmont, Buffalo Harbor, Denny Farrell Riverbank, FDR, Grafton Lakes, Green Lakes, Harriman, Heckscher, Hempstead, Letchworth, Robert Moses, Roberto Clemente, Sunken Meadow, Taughannock Falls and Westcott Beach state parks.
“It’s easy, it makes sense, it’s smart — you don’t have to go out of your way and it’s the right thing to do,” Cuomo said. “...Every state park across New York is as unique and beautiful as the region it serves, and bringing the COVID vaccine to our parks will further expand access and make it even easier for New Yorkers to get vaccinated. Providing those who get vaccinated with a free park pass is an incredible summer-season incentive, and a great way to get more people outdoors to enjoy all that New York has to offer.”
Single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be administered at the pop-up sites on a first come, first serve basis.
More than 18.4 million dosages of the COVID vaccine have been administered in the state as of Monday, according to a statement from the governor’s office Tuesday.
State mass vaccination sites remain open to eligible New Yorkers for walk-in vaccinations on a first come, first serve basis for people needing their first dose. Appointments for second doses are automatically scheduled after the initial shot.
To schedule an appointment, visit am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/-_blank or call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX.
For more information, contact your local health department, pharmacy, doctor or hospital to schedule appointments where vaccines are available, or visit vaccines.gov.