Handing out Vaccination Rewards in Sacramento
I gave out beer on the street as a reward for being vaccinated
By Rob Cockerham |
In July 2021, The U.S. was at an interesting moment in the Coronavirus pandemic. There was enough vaccine, and it was easy to get, but there had been a plateau in the number of people who were vaccinated, about 52%. Unfortunately, as masks were dropped, bars and restaurants reopened, predictions about disease spread came true. People were still getting sick and the infection rates were climbing.
52% wasn't enough to prevent the disease from spreading.
I think everyone is a little wary of strict vaccination requirements in our society, and the people who have refused the vaccine so far will probably be the last ones to respond to rules like that. However, I saw an opportunity to have an effect which would reward those of us who have taken the steps to protect ourselves and our neighbors. I gave away a vaccination reward. Beers.
On Saturday night I loaded a cooler with ice cold beer and headed to R Street. I also brought my handy folding table and a homemade sign.
I also brought some orange soda.
I was ready to find some vaccinated heros to reward!
Now, there was a thought that what I was doing might be illegal, but it is not illegal to give away beers in California unless you are doing it as a business promotion. Also, these were closed beers. This didn't break the "open container" laws.
It was a warm night. I started at about 8pm and had some customers before I had even finished setting up my table.
In California, you are very unlikely to be asked for your vaccination record anywhere, but for people who have been vaccinated, they are pretty eager to show it!
Here's how a typical interaction would go:
Me: "Hi, have you been vaccinated?"
Them, skeptical of my intentions: "Yep."
Me: "Do you want your reward? It is beer." At this point I would reach down and open the cooler and their eyes would get wide.
Them: "Ok! Yeah!"
Of course, not everyone was vaccinated. This was disheartening, because no one had masks and nearly everyone was out visiting the nearby bars and restaurants.
Threre was some disdain for what I was doing, but that might have been "person on the street asking for something" fatigue.
The best parts of the night were when I was embraced by a group that was split, half-vaccinated and half-unvaccinated. The vaccinated would scroll through their phones and find their vaccination proof, while the unvaccinated would fold their arms and wait. They did not get a reward, and their friends would shrug their shoulders and give them a playful jibe.
After about 90 minutes I had given out all 36 beers and four of the orange sodas. It was time to head home.
This was a really fun project! I didn't confront anyone who was anti-vaccine, but I definitely applauded and rewarded the people who took the step to protect themselves and others. It felt great!