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This page offers all of Delaware Public Media's ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it is affecting the First State. Check here regularly for the latest new and information.

Want free stuff? Get your COVID vaccine

Roman Battaglia
Delaware Public Media
Mrs. Robinos is one of the first 200 businesses participating

Gov. John Carney announced the first round of small businesses giving out incentives as part of his vaccine incentive program.


To further the state’s push to get 70 percent of the population at least one vaccine shot by the Fourth of July, Carney announced the first round of businesses receiving grants to encourage folks to get vaccinated.


Carney says the program mostly supports small businesses, giving them a one-time $5,000 grant to offer discounts, free food and other gifts to vaccinated folks. He adds the program is targeted at businesses hard hit by the pandemic, such as restaurants.


“We’ve had 200 really good and creative ideas,” he said. “Obviously if you have a main thing on your menu that you're known for like getting meatballs here as Mrs. Robino’s that’s a great way to both promote our DE Wins! program as well as your business.”


Mrs. Robino's in Wilmington is just one of 200 businesses funded in the first round.


The business grants are part of the DE Wins! Program, which is also holding weekly prize drawings and a final $302,000 grand prize to encourage people to get shots.


Jordan Schulties with the Division of Small Business says the businesses submitted their own ideas for incentives.


“They all have really unique cliente, they all have unique needs — and we asked them to tell us; what would move the needle for your customers?” Schulties said. “And the creativity we’ve seen come in from those proposals has been really inspiring.”


Carney says the application process went pretty quickly in round one, and at least 600 businesses in total have applied so far.


Delaware currently ranks 22nd in the country with 48 percent of those ages 12 and up fully vaccinated and 67 percent with at least one shot.


Carney believes encouragement is the best way to get folks vaccinated. The most difficult group is younger adults, who may be less inclined because they don’t believe they’ll get as sick from the virus.


Delawareans can find a full list of the 200 businesses offering incentives at the DE Wins! Website. Carney says they’re planning to add more businesses soon.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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