There are plenty of perks being handed out to encourage people to get vaccinated — with one business along the Jersey Shore turning the race to vaccinate into a full-fledged party.
In what might be among the most popular promotions yet to get Gen-Z vaccinated from COVID-19, a well-known nightclub down the shore offered free VIP passes to those who got inoculated there.
Many lined up around the block starting before 9 a.m. outside D'Jais in Belmar. All looking to get a shot, and looking for their shot to partying all summer long at the popular spot — for free.
"We kind of knew we should get it, but we really didn’t have definite plans to go get it," said Monmouth University student Rachel Comotto. "And then we saw this promotion on Instagram."
The mostly college-aged crowd looked to take the plunge, so to speak, with a big incentive.
"We all turned 21 during the pandemic, so we didn’t get to go out too much," said fellow Monmouth student Erin Casserly, hoping to snag one of the VIP passes. "We’re hoping this summer is a little different."
Others said they were willing to wait to get the vaccine, but when they heard about the deal, they couldn't pass it up.
"We go to Rutgers and we’re in finals right now, so I was going to wait until I moved out of my house to get it," said 21-year-old Tyler Bartlett. "But this offer was too good."
One woman who lives in the town said she had been going back and forth on whether to get vaccinated. But the offer swayed her.
"You have to have one," said Taylor Mohr of the VIP passes. "If you don’t have one, you're never going to get in during the summer."
The normally $100 pass waives most cover charges and gets whomever has one to the head of the line outside, along with other discounts. The nightclub is in a hurry to get things back to normal as soon as possible, given last year's pandemic summer that was terrible for business.
"Until we can go back to normal, we’re like a three-legged cart at this point," said D'Jais Owner Frank Sementa. Wednesday's program was so successful, Sementa said they'd consider doing it again, with more VIP passes.
And while vaccinations may not be on the top of mind for those who were getting the shot on Wednesday, Sementa thinks that it shows how eager people are to go back to normal after everything that's happened and changed in the past year or so.
"People had to sit six feet apart from each other, very difficult for boy to meet girl and girl to meet boy," he said. "And that’s what makes the world go round, you know."