WILMINGTON — More than 200 Delaware small businesses were approved for state grants up to $5,000 to reimburse them for the cost of providing incentives for customers fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The grants are part of DE Wins! — the state’s vaccine incentive program that aims to have 70% of Delawareans fully vaccinated by July 4.
“Hopefully, the incentives will not only drive vaccination rates but also drive some traffic to our small businesses, which have been hurt so badly over the past year,” said Jordan Schulties, director of the Division of Small Business.
A wide range of industries are represented among those receiving the grants, including restaurants, retail and personal care businesses. A list of businesses and their offers are available here.
Deals include free appetizers, free desserts, gift bags and discounts when a customer presents his or her vaccination card. Gov. John Carney made the announcement Monday outside Mrs. Robino’s Restaurant in Wilmington, an eatery that is offering a free order of spaghetti and meatballs for its incentive.
Gov. Carney said the state will announce more businesses that will receive grants in the upcoming days.
“This is just the first round. We’ve got more to come,” Gov. Carney said.
“We asked them to tell us what would move the needle for your customers,” Ms. Schulties said. “The (creativity) from those proposals has been really inspiring.”
The DE Wins! program runs until June 30 and also includes twice-weekly prize drawings conducted by the Delaware Lottery for cash and other prizes, such as tickets to the Firefly Music Festival, Delaware State Park passes and tickets to Wilmington Blue Rocks games.
A final drawing for all vaccinated individuals will take place June 30, with grand prizes of $302,000 and two low-digit Delaware license plates.
Residents vaccinated in the First State will also receive a $10 gift card when receiving their shots. A full list of vaccination sites is available here.
Gov. Carney has said the state has $5 million set aside for the DE Wins! campaign. The state anticipates the program will be covered with federal funds.
As of Sunday, 67.4% of Delaware adults had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Demand has slowed down over the past month however. DE Wins! was created to help combat that waning demand.
“That last mile (of) road has been more difficult than ever,” Gov. Carney said.
Gov. Carney said he’s hoping the incentives will encourage the younger generation to receive their vaccines. Only 30.1% of Delawareans 18 to 34 years old are fully vaccinated compared to 42.1% for 35- to 49-year-olds, 56.3% for 50- to 65-year-olds and 82.1% for those 65 and older.
There have been 937,818 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines administered in Delaware as of Sunday at 11:59 p.m., according to the Delaware Division of Public Health’s vaccine tracker.
The DPH reported 45 new positive cases of COVID-19 and no new COVID-19-related deaths in Monday’s update. Delaware has recorded an all-time total of 109,167 cases and 1,677 COVID-19-related deaths.
COVID-19 hospitalizations increased by two compared to the day prior, up to 31 — the second-lowest total of 2021. Of those hospitalized, seven are considered critical.