UNIVERSAL CITY, CA (STL.News) As California moves Beyond the Blueprint today to fully reopen the economy, Governor Gavin Newsom welcomed the milestone at Universal Studios Hollywood, where he highlighted the attractions Californians can look forward to revisiting this summer. Governor Newsom also selected 10 lucky Californians to receive $1.5 million each – for a total of $15 million – as part of the final cash prize drawing in the state’s Vax for the Win program.
Starting today, June 15, the restrictions that have been in place over the past year will be eliminated, including physical distancing, capacity limits, county tier systems and masks in almost all settings for vaccinated Californians.
In taking early action to address the pandemic head-on, Governor Newsom protected both Californians and the state’s economy, resulting in some of the best health and economic outcomes of any state in the country:
California is forecasted to outpace the country’s economic recovery, ranked as the No. 1 U.S. economy for “expanding GDP, raising household income, investing in innovation,” and more.
California is creating more jobs than any other state for three months in a row, adding 385,000 jobs; in April alone, California created 38 percent of the nation’s jobs.
The state consistently has amongst the lowest case rates and transmission rates in the nation, and hospitalizations dipped to the lowest point since March 2020.
More than 40 million vaccinations have been administered in California, surpassing the next closest state by 16 million, with over 70 percent of adults having at least one shot.
“Today, we celebrate the incredible strength and resilience of Californians – from our heroic health care workers to essential workers across the board to everyday Californians from all walks of life – who have supported each other through hardship and heartache over the past year, making sacrifices to save countless lives and enable us to turn the page on this pandemic,” said Governor Newsom. “As we look ahead to better days, we will continue to look out for one another, redoubling our support to those hit hardest by the pandemic and making unprecedented investments to address California’s most persistent challenges, so that the entire state comes roaring back together.”
The Governor was joined at Universal Studios Hollywood by two of the 30 $50,000 winners –Aurelia, of Los Angeles County and Reyna, of Orange County – who received their checks today. “I am deeply grateful for this prize and proud to have done my part to protect my community from COVID-19 – bringing the state one step closer to this incredible moment,” said Aurelia. “I encourage others to get vaccinated to help keep us on track to putting this pandemic behind us for good.” Helen Cordova, a registered nurse in Los Angeles who became the first person to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in California last December, assisted with today’s grand prize drawing.
Under Vax for the Win, California was one of the only states in the country to achieve a week-over-week increase in the rate of vaccinations, and most recently we saw a 22 percent increase in vaccinations, including an increase in rates amongst hard-to-reach communities. Since launching Vax for the Win, more than 3 million vaccine doses have been reported, including over 924,221 Californians newly starting their vaccination process, and the state has seen the largest number of first doses administered in communities hit hardest by the pandemic.
Today’s selection of 10 $1.5 million winners caps off the cash prize giveaways as part of the $116.5 million Vax for the Win program – the largest vaccine incentive program in the nation. The program previously selected 30 winners to receive $50,000 each, for a total of $1,500,000. In addition, the program is providing $100 million in $50 prepaid or grocery cards for newly vaccinated people, while supplies last. Governor Newsom also highlighted the upcoming California Dream Vacations, a new Vax for the Win incentive in which vaccinated Californians have the chance to win one of six in-state vacation packages in a drawing on July 1.
Today’s $1.5 million winners live in the following counties: Los Angeles, Marin, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Sacramento, Stanislaus and Ventura. The California Department of Public Health will start notifying winners within hours of the drawing and over the next several days by telephone, text, email or other contact information associated with the person’s record in the state’s vaccine registry. To protect their privacy, all winners will have the option to accept their cash prize while remaining anonymous or decline it altogether.
The $50,000 winners selected in prior cash prize drawings live throughout the state, including Sandy of Orange County, a winner from last week who said “I can’t tell you how grateful I am. I feel so free after getting mine, I was able to hug my grandkids and go to the store without fear. I want to encourage all to get their vaccine soon – the feeling is so wonderful.”
Californians who have not gotten vaccinated yet are encouraged to go to myturn.ca.gov or call (833) 422-4255 to schedule their appointment, or go to myturn.ca.gov/clinic to find a walk-in clinic in their county.