Connecticut restaurants will give free drinks to vaccinated customers

Diners who buy food at participating locations can also get a free beverage between May 19 and June 1 if they show proof of inoculation.
Photograph: Shutterstock

As the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations decelerates nationwide, Connecticut restaurants are offering a free drink to residents of their state who opt for the shots—provided the inoculation also shows local dining establishments some love.

Customers who present their proof of inoculation—and buy food from the restaurant hosting them—can select an alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverage off a menu drafted by the participating place. The offer begins on May 19, the date capacity limits and virtually all other restrictions except a facemask requirement are scheduled to end for Connecticut restaurants. It deal ends June 1.

Under the #CTDrinksOnUs promotion, only one selection off the free-drink menu is permitted per vaccinated guest. Patrons can collect a free beverage if they’ve received at least one vaccination shot.

The deal was the result of a collaboration between the Connecticut Restaurant Association (CRA) and Gov. Ned Lamont. “Helping get as many people vaccinated as possible is the best way to get customers back out to restaurants, helping create jobs and bolster local economies throughout Connecticut,” Scott Dolch, the CRA’s executive director, said in a statement.

While many restaurants are offering incentives as an enticement for employees to get vaccinated, few operations have focused on ways of encouraging customers to get the shots. Krispy Kreme is a rare exception.  The doughnuts and coffee chain announced in March that it will provide a free Original Glazed doughnut every day through the remainder of 2021 to any patron who presents a vaccination card showing they’ve received at least one shot.

Connecticut’s push for vaccinations come as the pace of U.S. inoculations is slowing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 2.4 million Americans are now receiving a dose on a typical day. That average is down from 3.4 million in mid-April.

About 105 million residents of the United States have been inoculated to date, the agency says.

The website for #CTDrinksOnUs lists 175 restaurants currently participating in the program. Included are units of national chains, local multi-unit operations and single establishments. 

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