RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — From free donuts, beer, and food, businesses across the Triangle are incentivizing people to get vaccinated.
The Empire Eats Restaurant group and Eastern Carolina Medical Center are giving free meals to people who get a COVID-19 vaccine at their pop-up clinics in Moore Square this week.
“It doesn’t cost you any time,” said Greg Hatem, owner of Empire Eats. “If you’re here on you’re lunch break, you can come in and grab a shot.”
Moore Square is one of the busiest outdoor spots in downtown Raleigh, but turnout at the clinics was a little lower than expected. As of Thursday, Hatem said about 100 people had been vaccinated. Elizabeth Alley was one of them.
“I came here and just wanted to sit down and draw [at Moore Square] and then I looked over and saw ‘free meal with free vaccine.’ I looked it up and it was the same one I had already gotten, so I was like, let me just get it a day early,” said Alley, who initially planned to get her second dose through Wake County on Friday. “So it was a nice little incentive and nice little treat.”
There will be another COVID-19 clinic in Moore Square Friday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
North Carolina Central University also holds weekly giveaways for students who upload their COVID-19 vaccine record card to the university’s online portal. Vaccinated students can win smart TVs, laptops and student housing credits.
Krispy Kreme customers who show their COVID-19 record card will receive a free glazed donut.
“I got my vaccine, I got my free donut, came back and was like I’m all set,” Alley said of the free perks.
Even the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) is using incentives to encourage inmates to get the shot. Inmates who are fully vaccinated will get five days of sentence credits. Those who aren’t eligible for sentence credits will get a $5 credit for the facility canteen. Inmates will also receive four extra visitation sessions and a free 10-minute phone call.
The latest data from DPS shows 14,100 inmates in state prisons are fully vaccinated and 2,227 inmates are partially vaccinated.
“I think it’s been a rough year, so I think whatever we can do to help move forward and gather again I think is really gonna be healing for everyone,” said Clarice Grody, a healthcare worker who got her vaccine in January.
But whether incentives will be enough to help the state reach its goal of vaccinating two-thirds of adults is unclear.
“I think it’s good for people who were kind of uneasy,” said Alley. “But for people who are a hard no, it’s gonna be really hard to convince them. I feel you could give them a free car and they would still say no.”