Illinois reopening Bridge Phase starts Friday for state, Chicago
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Governor JB Pritzker announced Thursday Six Flags Great America is offering 50,000 free tickets to its parks in Gurnee and Rockford to newly-vaccinated residents
The announcement comes as Illinois public health officials reported 1,918 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 35 related deaths Thursday.
WATCH | Gov. Pritzker announces free Six Flags tickets for newly-vaccinated residents
"It's unique and the first time ever that we have donated $4 million worth of tickets," Six Flags Great American President Hank Salemi said.
The announcement came on the eve of Illinois' move into the Bridge Phase of reopening.
In that phase, fans at Guaranteed Rate Field and Wrigley Field who show proof of vaccinations will be able to sit in special sections without spacing. They also won't count toward capacity, allowing for more spectators.
Amusement parks will go from 25% to 60% capacity, which is part of why Six Flags has launched their giveaway.
Beginning the first week of June, Illinois National Guard vaccination teams will be on-site at the park. The free tickets will also be distributed through local health departments and mobile vaccine units in underserved communities.
"There are a lot of people that are on the fence a little bit and this will push them in the right direction," said Gov. JB Pritzker.
If health and hospital metrics remains table for 28 days in the Bridge Phase, Illinois will move to Phase 5, which is full opening with no restrictions. Chicago is targeting a July 4 full reopening date.
Pushing vaccines with incentives has become common nationwide. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is offering free pizzas. New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio is working with Shake Shack to give out free fries.
And on Wednesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced if residents get the shot, they have a shot at winning $1 million and college scholarships.
"If your name is pulled out, we will do it five weeks in a row, you get a total scholarship, which includes room, board, books, everything to any of Ohio's great universities," DeWine said.
While Gov. Pritzker has no lottery or scholarship incentive plans for Illinois, he is hoping new vaccination sections at Wrigley and Guaranteed Rate Field will motivate baseball fans to get the vaccine.
"It not only allows stadiums to increase capacity, but it encourages people to get vaccinated because they'll be more seats available to them," Pritzker said.
The hope is for all these incentives to move the needle toward President Biden's goal of getting at least 70%of American adults vaccinated with one dose by July 4.
There have been 1,361,666 total COVID cases, including 22,320 deaths in the state since the pandemic began.
Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported testing 88,682 specimens for a total of 23,594,096 since the pandemic began.
The preliminary seven-day statewide test positivity from May 6 to May 12, is 3.2%.
As of Wednesday night, 1,765 patients in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 465 patients were in the ICU and 236 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.
A total of 10,179,004 vaccines have been administered in Illinois as of Wednesday night. The seven-day rolling average of vaccines administered daily is 76,082 doses. There were 68,035 doses reported administered in Illinois Wednesday.
The deaths reported Thursday include:
-Coles County: 1 male 60s
-Cook County: 1 male 20s, 1 female 60s, 2 males 60s, 2 females 70s, 4 males 70s, 2 females 80s
-DuPage County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 90s
-Henry County: 1 female 80s
-Kane County: 1 female 70s
-Knox County: 2 females 80s, 1 female 90s
-Lake County: 1 male 70s
-Macon County: 1 male 40s
-McLean County: 1 male 90s
-Peoria County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s
-Rock Island County: 1 male 80s
-Tazewell County: 1 male 50s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s
-Wayne County: 1 male 60s
-Will County: 1 female 70s
-Winnebago County: 1 male 70s