If COVID-19 vaccines proving to be safe and very effective against preventing severe cases and deaths from the disease weren’t enough to entice Illinois residents, maybe free tickets to a theme park will do the trick.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that Six Flags Great America will offer 50,000 free tickets to newly vaccinated Illinois residents to Great America, its neighboring water park in Gurnee and Hurricane Harbor Rockford, located roughly 60 miles west. The donated tickets are valued at $4 million.
“Throughout the pandemic, Six Flags has been all in for Illinois, putting the health of workers and visitors first,” Pritzker said in a press release. “I know it’s been a difficult year – but that just makes it all the more exciting to be back at the park. Thanks to the life-saving power of vaccinations, it feels once again like summer’s in the air.”
Pritzker’s office said a “significant portion” of the free tickets will be distributed to local health departments. Illinois National Guard mobile vaccination teams will also be dispatched to the Gurnee park on June 5 and 6.
Great America park president Hank Salemi said the park is “proud to support the state of Illinois vaccination efforts, especially in underrepresented communities. We’re getting back to the thrills and want to do our part to encourage residents to get vaccinated.”
Illinois has so far administered 10.1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, with 36.5 percent of population being fully vaccinated. The ticket giveaway comes just one day after the federal government authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use in kids as young as 12.
Six Flags Great America was one of the theme parks which remain shuttered throughout 2020, openly only for ride-less holiday events. The park fully reopened on April 24. Hurricane Harbor Gurnee and Hurricane Harbor Rockford will both reopen on May 29.