Nearly eight weeks after a promise to remove pandemic restrictions if enough Kentuckians received a COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Andy Beshear announced a new offer on Friday. The commonwealth will give away $1 million to three vaccinated Kentuckians and full-ride scholarships to 15 vaccinated children between the ages of 12 and 17. The governor’s news conference also included new money to prevent evictions in Louisville and Lexington.
Touting what he called the “Shot at a Million Dollars,” Governor Beshear described what he hopes will increase the number of vaccinated Kentuckians. On April 12 he promised to remove restrictions from most businesses and venues when 2.5 million Kentuckians were vaccinated. At the time, 1.55 million had received the shot. Beshear predicted it could take as little as three weeks to meet his “Team Kentucky challenge” but admitted four to six weeks was a more likely timeline.
Now, with the number of vaccinated Kentuckians stalled at 2.06 million, Beshear hopes the new incentives will bring a spike in administered doses. “If you’re on the fence, how about a free ride to college, or how about the best odds that you’ll ever have at winning a million dollars?” he asked. “All you have to do is the right thing that every public health official in America says you ought to be doing anyway.”
Drawings will take place July 1, July 29, and August 26. The state will announce one $1 million winner and five scholarship winners after each drawing. Anyone already vaccinated and those vaccinated before a drawing date are eligible. Beshear said people only need to enter once and will remain in each drawing.
To enter either the $1 million drawings or those for college scholarships, Kentuckians must sign up online. Click here to register.
According to the promotion’s website, “Nonresidents of Kentucky, inmates incarcerated for a felony, and employees of the Office of the Governor of Kentucky, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, and Kentucky Interactive, LLC, a blood relative or spouse of such employees, or anyone living in the same household of such employees, are not eligible to enter the drawing.”
The Kentucky Department for Public Health will use federal Coronavirus Relief Funds for the campaign.
Lexington and Louisville will also receive tens of millions of dollars in pandemic-related eviction relief. Beshear gave checks totaling $11.7 million and $27 million to the cities, respectively. The provides money to renters and landlords dealing with pandemic financial burdens. Customers who have past-due utility bills because of the pandemic can also access the money.
Beshear said that both cities ran out of their earlier allotment while the pool for the rest of Kentucky’s cities still contained nearly $150 million.