Statesboro City Council advised not to run vaccine sweepstakes, looking for alternative host

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 4:17 PM EDT
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STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - The resurgence in COVID-19 cases has some communities questioning whether they can hold Fall events and how they can get more people to get the vaccine.

In Statesboro, city leaders say they’re trying to find a way to make it all work. Holding a sweepstakes to motivate people to get their vaccinations sounds like a good idea, but Statesboro city leaders found out it isn’t that easy or simple.

City Manager Charles Penny told the mayor and council the Georgia Municipal Association advised them not to hold a contest where vaccinated people registered for cash and prizes. Instead, he said, the city can fund the cash and prizes but must find a non-profit group to run it.

“So, we’re excited about the opportunity. We know we’ve got several non-profit organizations that have worked well with us in the past,” Statesboro Mayor Johnathan McCollar said.

At the same time, they talked about some of the large community events on the horizon - like the Kiwanis Fair parade in October that packs sidewalks all the way through town. With COVID case numbers where they are, big crowds could lead to a big spread.

“I want the fair. I want the parade. I want to see us get back to some normalcy. But to get back to that normalcy, we have to do it in the safest measures possible.”

They say the parade is already permitted. But they’ll be talking to the hosts as the Oct. 18 date gets closer.

They’ll look for a non-profit to administer the sweepstakes. In the meantime, they’ll stick to giving away gift cards to people within the city.

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