Businesses, sports teams and the Dallas Regional Chamber Tuesday launched a new promotion to incentivize more North Texans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to help get business booming again.
Ronyell Byere said she was reluctant to get the shot because of rare COVID-19 vaccine side effects but decided to protect herself Tuesday.
“And my loved ones. I would never want to catch COVID, give it to them, and something bad happens to them,” she said.
The new promotion, posted at takecareofbusinessdfw.org, helped persuade her to take action.
Residents of Dallas, Tarrant, Collin or Denton County who are vaccinated between June 9 and Aug. 31 and sign up at the website will be eligible for prizes. Drawings will be held July 30 and Sep. 7.
Though streets are busier and stores are open, Dallas Regional Chamber President Dale Petroskey said business was still well below pre-pandemic levels.
“Leisure and hospitality is down more than 50% so small businesses are still hurting,” Petroskey said.
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Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said the vaccination rate nationally is around 65%, compared with only about 57% in Dallas County. But he said it is not as easy in Texas to offer the kind of promotions some other states have used to boost the numbers.
“We as a government have a hard time doing sweepstakes and raffles because of the law here in Texas,” Jenkins said.
The vaccination rate for Dallas area African American and Hispanic residents is even lower.
Around 40% of the Dallas County population is Hispanic and that group has recorded 52% of COVID-19 cases, but only 32% of the group has been vaccinated.
“All of us share a common goal. We want to get back to a great life,” chamber board member Nancy Flores said. “So our goal is to reach the threshold of herd immunity.”
African Americans are 12% of the Dallas County population and 15% of the cases, but only 8% have been vaccinated.
“In our church alone, we've lost members. We've seen owners lose their businesses. We've seen the impact of unemployment. And so, we believe it is essential, in order to get back, we want to encourage everyone to get vaccinated,” Concord Church Pastor Bryan Carter said.
Promotions on TV and billboards will include the takecareofbusinessdfw.org link.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson recently announced another incentive program through his Dallas Mayor’s Foundation, also aimed at getting more residents vaccinated.