SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – In a push to reach the state’s goal of reaching 70% vaccination by July 4, local businesses are being asked to encourage and incentivize their employees to get the vaccine.
The Salt Lake Chamber in partnership with the State of Utah and the Utah Department of Health sent a letter to 10,000 businesses on Tuesday, asking them for support.
According to a press release announcing the campaign, 64% of Utah residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. With less than 3 weeks to go before the Fourth of July, a date that President Joe Biden has also circled as a possible “victory celebration” against the pandemic, Utah leadership is calling on business owners and managers to provide additional help.
At one point, Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox stated that he was in favor of providing a state-funded raffle or lottery to further motivate unvaccinated Utahns to get their shots. Similar raffles had seen success in other states, such as Ohio, which provided a million-dollar lottery among its vaccinated residents.
However, in last Thursday’s COVID-19 briefing, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson shared that the idea had been shot down in the state legislature.
“The legislature put a bit of a kibosh on the state providing any kind of incentive for people, so that’s something that we can’t really do right now,” Henderson explained.
In the same briefing, Henderson called on Utah businesses to do all they can to incentivize their employees to get vaccinated or to provide a mobile pop-up clinic for vaccine administration.
The letter that was sent on Tuesday re-emphasized that request from the top of Utah’s leadership, using a pledge called “Stay Safe to Stay Open” that was taken by the businesses at the height of the pandemic.
Gov. Cox, who asked the businesses to take a number of health and safety measures in the original pledge, is now asking them to finish the job with this vaccine incentive push.
“We will never know how many thousands of lives were saved by the valiant efforts of Utah businesses that joined and promoted the ‘Stay Safe to Stay Open’ campaign,” said Cox in the press release. “Our effort now is to ‘Bring It Home’ with a flash campaign that encourages the same businesses — as well as all Utah businesses — to assist their employees in protecting themselves, their families, and their place of business by getting vaccinated.”
According to the release, additional messaging, including public service announcements from prominent businesses and community leaders, is also in the works.