AUGUSTA, Maine — During a discussion with President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of governors from across the nation Tuesday, Gov. Janet Mills announced that the state of Maine is launching an outdoor-centered incentive program aimed at encouraging Maine people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 before the summer season begins.
The public-private initiative, called “Your Shot to Get Outdoors”, is led by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and brings together the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, L.L.Bean, the Portland Sea Dogs, and Oxford Plains Speedway to offer incentives to get Maine people vaccinated and engaged in outdoor activities.
Effective immediately through May 31, 2021, Maine adults age 18 and older who get their first shot of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, in Maine will qualify to receive one of the following, according to the Mills administration:
- Fishing License: The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will purchase up to 5,000 2021 fishing licenses for Maine residents from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
- Hunting License: The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will purchase up to 5,000 2021 hunting season licenses for eligible Maine residents from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Eligible Maine residents include those who have completed a hunter safety course, have previously held a license, and are not felons.
- Maine Wildlife Park Pass: The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will purchase up to 5,000 passes to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, which are good for admission through the 2021 season, from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. One pass allows admission for up to two people.
- Maine State Park Day Pass: The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will purchase up to 5,000 day passes for Maine residents to Maine State Parks through the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The passes can be used through June 15, 2021. One pass allows admission for one vehicle.
- L.L.Bean Gift Card: The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will purchase up to 10,000 $20 gift cards from L.L.Bean for use at their stores.
- Sea Dogs Admission Ticket: The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will purchase up to 5,000 tickets from the Portland Sea Dogs for 2021 regular season baseball games at Hadlock Field in Portland.
- Oxford Plains Speedway Pass: The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will purchase from Oxford Plains Speedway up to 5,000 tickets for weekly events in the 2021 racing season.
Maine adults vaccinated at a Maine vaccination site between May 11 and May 31 can register for their incentive beginning Monday, May 17, by filling out an online form or calling the state’s community vaccination line at 1-888-445-4111.
Mills joined Governors Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), Spencer Cox (R-Utah), Tim Walz (D-Minnesota), Charlie Baker (R-Massachusetts), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-New Mexico) Tuesday to share with Biden some best practices on promoting access to vaccination, building confidence in the vaccines, and ensuring that everyone is reached in the vaccination response.
“The Maine outdoors is a place like no other, offering endless opportunities to have a good time and stay healthy,” Mills said. “With this new initiative, we are encouraging Maine people to get their vaccine and get outdoors to experience all that our state has to offer. Whether you’re an angler or a hunter, a baseball fan or a racing fan, or someone who just all-around enjoys being outside, now is a great time to protect yourself from COVID-19 and take to the outdoors. I thank L.L.Bean, the Sea Dogs, and Oxford Plains Speedway for joining us in this important endeavor to keep our state and its people healthy.”
People will be asked to submit basic information, such as their county of residence and where they received their vaccine, and may request their incentive of choice. Quantities are limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to the Mills administration.
According to the Mills administration, people who are interested in tickets to the Sea Dogs will then be contacted directly by these organizations on when and how to obtain their tickets, while people who express a preference for the other incentives will receive an email with information on how to redeem their incentive.
Comments from the key players involved in the initiative:
“The Sea Dogs are thrilled to participate in this program,” Geoff Iacuessa, president and general manager of the Portland Sea Dogs, said in a release Tuesday. “We encourage folks to take advantage of this incentive, get their shot to protect their health, and then join us for a great game. We look forward to doing our part to help make Maine a healthier state and to getting us all back to the activities we love.”
“We are excited to get more people outside and more Mainers vaccinated. Enjoying the outdoors is beneficial to both your physical and mental health, and vaccinations are the key to keeping Maine healthy,” Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Kamuso said. “Our aim is to encourage as many Mainers as possible to get vaccinated and enjoy the outdoors safely.”
“We are excited to be a part of the program,” Mike Mayberry, vice president of Oxford Plains Speedway, said. “We think it’s a great way to help Maine get vaccinated.”
“Recreating outdoors provides many health benefits,” Amanda Beal, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said. “Promoting access to our State Parks to mobilize Mainers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is a win-win, as it supports public health by encouraging people to get out and enjoy these beautiful places while ultimately helping to increase our overall vaccination rate.”
“We have been very focused on the health and safety of our employees, customers and local communities throughout the pandemic,” Stephen Smith, president and CEO of L.L.Bean., said. “As one of the largest employers, retailers and tourist destinations in the state, we are more than happy to host the CDC at our Flagship Location in Freeport as efforts continue to make the vaccine more accessible to all. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Maine community has come together to support one another – from mask production to creating and volunteering at mass vaccine clinics to now providing mobile site locations – this is really the best of Maine.”