PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island Gov. Daniel McKee is working on a plan to boost the state’s post-pandemic economy by distributing tens of thousands of $25 gift cards to residents to encourage them to shop at local businesses.
The program to distribute anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 gift cards would be paid for with leftover federal stimulus funds, the Democratic governor said at a briefing Tuesday.
He said he would like to see the program in place next month in time for Father’s Day and high school graduation shopping.
Details of the program are still being worked out, so it remains unclear who would qualify for the $25 cards, if there would be an application process, how they would be distributed, and which businesses they could be used at.
McKee said he would have more to share at his weekly COVID-19 briefing on Thursday.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT DATA
The number of people fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in Rhode Island has surpassed 400,000, according to state Department of Health numbers released Wednesday.
The more than 405,000 people now fully vaccinated represents about 38% of the total population, although people who work or go to school in the state are also eligible for a shot.
The department also reported almost 300 new confirmed cases of the disease and one virus-related death, for totals of more than 149,000 known cases and 2,682 fatalities.
The number of people in the state’s hospitals with the coronavirus was down to 125 as of Monday, the latest day for which the data was available, from 133 the previous day.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Rhode Island has fallen from about 369 on April 19 to about 244 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins.