There should be numerous chances for those who are still unvaccinated to receive $100 gift cards to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

At its meeting on Tuesday the Porterville City Council voted to continue and essentially expand the program in which $100 gift cards are given to those who are vaccinated at promoted events. The program has been offered not only as a way to encourage people to be vaccinated but also to help local businesses who have been impacted by the pandemic as the $100 gift cards that are given are for local businesses. Funding for the gift cards comes from American Rescue Plan funds the city of Porterville has received.

On August 27 the City of Porterville in partnership with Sierra View Medical Center and Imperial Ambulance held an event in which $100 gift cards were given to those who were vaccinated at the community vaccination clinic at Pearson and Morton. The turnout exceeded expectations as there were 250 gift cards available, but 357 people showed up to be vaccinated, so IOUs for the gift cards were given to more than 100 who showed up. Those receiving their first or second shots were eligible to receive the gift cards.

City Councilmember Lawana Tate who was at the event to assist said she supported continuing the program. “The more people we get vaccinated the more lives we save,” she said.

The council also tentatively approved offering the gift cards all three days the community vaccination clinic is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Friday as soon as next week, so potentially gift cards could be offered to those being vaccinated from September 16 through 18.

Gift cards could also be given to those being vaccinated at other events such as the upcoming Music on Main Street concerts. The first concert is September 17, but it's unlikely gift cards would be given at that event as it would conflict with the potential promotion at the community vaccine clinic.

Another potential event in which gift cards could be given away to those who are vaccinated is Family Literacy Day on September 25.

City Manager John Lollis said he expects the promotions to continue to receive a great deal of interest. “This is going to be wildly popular,” he said. “It's not unreasonable you will have 1,000 people come on a particular day,” Lollis said.

Lollis noted in that scenario $100,000 in ARP funds would be spent on the gift cards.

MUSIC ON MAIN

Speaking of Music on Main Street the city council approved the return of the free concert series at Centennial Park co-sponsored by the city and the Porterville Chamber of Commerce. The series will be held every Friday from September 17 through October 29.

The first concert will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. September 17 and will feature In Kahootz, a band based in South Lake Tahoe.

Kristina Nieskans leads the trio with her vocals and is accompanied by John McCollum on drums, Geoff Valentine on guitar and Lowell Wilson on keyboard. The group is known as a band that will “pump up the jams” and has been called “a must see when in the Lake Tahoe area!”

In the future Centennial Park could be expanded for larger crowds to attend such events as Music on Main Street. As part of its consent calendar the council approved of purchasing the 2,379 square foot commercial building at 36-38 E. Cleveland from the Pacheco Family and John Snavely and Henrietta Kay Snavely for $250,000. The purchase of the property can be used to expand Centennial Park in the future.

The Capital Construction/Improvement Designated Fund in the general fund will be used to fund the purchase.

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