This is pretty simple. Oneida County is about to put over a million dollars into the cash registers of local businesses, but there's one catch: to get the money, businesses have to sign up.

It's Oneida County's Boost OC program and it's basically free money for businesses in the county.

County Executive Anthony Picente announced the program last week as a way to incentivize and reward and incentive  residents for getting the COVID-19 vaccination or the COVID booster shot. Just as important, the program pumps real money into local businesses which have suffered during the COVID shutdown over the last year and a half.

“We are still fighting this pandemic every day and the best tool we have at our disposal is the COVID-19 vaccine,” Picente said. “Protecting our residents from this virus is crucial to reclaiming our way of life. For those who have not yet been vaccinated, I urge you to take advantage of the Boost OC program. Not only for the health and safety of yourself and loved ones, but also to help in the recovery of our local businesses and non-profits who have been devastated for nearly two years.”

People who get vaccinated in the county will be automatically given a $100 gift card that can be spent at any participating business. In order to participate, the business must sign up for free atwww.BoostOC.org. Oneida County has partnered with Prizeout to administer Boost OC, which utilizes federal funds the county received from the American Rescue Plan. Eligible vaccinated residents will be contacted by the county.

In addition to being redeemed at local businesses such as restaurants and clothing stores, the county-funded gift cards can be used to donate to local non-profit organizations and even to pay for registration for the Boilermaker Road Race.

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