New York City Comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer on Monday proposed a new way to give a “booster shot” to the city’s economy. The program would give New Yorkers receiving a coronavirus vaccine shot “VaxPacks,” a swag bag of vouchers for local businesses, cultural venues, and a two-trip MetroCard. Stringer said the initiative encourages vaccinations and supports small businesses, while also increasing subway and bus ridership, which has not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels.
Under the proposal, New Yorkers would receive VaxPacks after their final vaccine dose at city-run vaccination sites. The pack could include items like a two-trip MetroCard, a $20 voucher for use at local restaurants and businesses, admissions vouchers to movie theaters and museums, and information about other city events and activities.
Stringer says the city could pay for the $50 million program upfront and reimburse the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and other businesses accepting the voucher.
“To jumpstart our economic recovery, we need robust and widespread vaccination to protect New Yorkers from COVID-19. And every shot can also be an opportunity to support small businesses and our local economy,” Stringer said in a press release.
“That’s why I’m proposing VaxPacks — a plan to give a booster shot to our local economy by getting New Yorkers back on the subway, back to restaurants, back to recreational activities, and back to normalcy. By offering free VaxPacks to vaccinated New Yorkers, we are injecting much-needed stimulus into our local economy. It’s time to think creatively and outside the box to deliver a safe and successful reopening with an equitable recovery.”
The initiative builds upon Stringer’s broader $1 billion recovery plan for New York. Last week, the candidate announced a 37-point economic recovery proposal, which includes grants for small businesses and nonprofits, an expansion of outdoor dining, investments in childcare, infrastructure improvements, creation of green jobs, and supporting the recovery of Broadway and other cultural institutions.