Registration for first drawing of vaccine incentive lottery ends tonight
CHARLESTON — While COVID-19 remains a concern, West Virginia is planning a celebration Sunday on the state’s 158th birthday for those who have been vaccinated.
Sunday marks both West Virginia Day and Father’s Day, with Gov. Jim Justice announcing a celebration on the front steps of the Capitol starting at 1 p.m. The public is invited and the event will be livestreamed.
Partially vaccinated residents age 12 and older have until tonight at midnight to register at governor.wv.gov for the first drawing in the state’s vaccination incentive lottery. Lottery drawings will start Sunday and continue every week for the next five weeks.
“If you’re just dilly-dallying around and you haven’t registered, you’re blowing a chance to absolutely become a millionaire,” Justice said Tuesday during a coronavirus briefing at the Capitol. “You have got to get registered … you need to get in quick and get your first shot and you can register immediately.”
Weekly prizes for those 18 and older include $1 million, two custom pick-up trucks, 25 weekend getaways for state parks, rifle and shotgun giveaways and lifetime hunting and fishing licenses. Weekly prizes for residents between the ages of 12 and 25 include two four-year college scholarships for any in-state public institution.
Residents between the ages of 16 and 35 can still register to receive a $100 U.S. savings bond or a $100 pre-paid debit card.
The lottery ends Aug. 4, culminating with a grand prize of $1.588 million and $588,000 for the runner-up. More than 185,000 West Virginians have registered for the lottery.
Sunday also marks the end of the indoor mask mandate for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Previously the order was only lifted for fully vaccinated people. As for when the state of emergency and remaining executive orders will be rescinded, Justice was unable to lay out a timetable. The state has been under a state of emergency since March 16, 2020; more than 16 months.
“My people would tell you everyone is still looking at that,” Justice said. “The sooner, the better from my standpoint except just this: there is a real, real advantage to all the different things we’ve been able to do by keeping everybody together, keeping everybody in the loop and everything. We’ll continue to look at it and I’m sure our people will advise me.”
According to the Department of Health and Human Resources, there were 2,710 active COVID-19 cases in the state as of Tuesday, making up 0.15 percent of the state’s population with a coronavirus infection. Hospitalizations dropped to 119, with 41 cases in the ICU. The state reported eight COVID-19 deaths since Justice’s Thursday briefing. The state has partially vaccinated 61.4 percent of the state’s eligible residents, bringing the state closer to the 65 percent partially vaccination rate by Sunday.