‘Operation Jersey Summer’ Aims to Bolster New Jersey’s COVID-19 Vaccination Effort

By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor

TRENTON, N.J. — On Monday afternoon, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced a new program called “Operation Jersey Summer” that aims to boost confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine models.

The headliner of the program is the state’s “Shot for a Beer” initiative. Thirteen bars and breweries throughout the state will offer New Jersey residents who get their COVID-19 vaccination this month a free beer. The program might be a bit cheesy, but it includes a number of establishments in shore towns and just might encourage folks to roll up their sleeves and get inoculated.

Residents can only participate in the “Shot for a Beer” program if they bring their COVID-19 vaccination card to one of the following locations that are participating in New Jersey’s “Shot for a Beer” program:

  • Battle River Brewing, Toms River
  • Bradley Beer Project, Bradley Beach
  • Bolero Snort Brewing Company, Carlstadt
  • Brix City Brewing Company, Little Ferry
  • Carton Brewing Company, Atlantic Highlands
  • Flounder Brewing Company, Hillsborough
  • Flying Fish Brewing Company, Somerdale
  • Gaslight Brewery & Restaurant, South Orange
  • Hackensack Brewing Company, Hackensack
  • Kane Brewing Company, Ocean Township
  • Little Dog Brewing Company, Neptune
  • Magnify Brewing Company, Fairfield (Essex County)
  • River Horse Brewing Company, Ewing

“[The ‘Shot for a Beer’ program] is the only reason I regret waiting to get my first shot. That’s all I can say,” Gov. Murphy joked during his COVID-19 briefing on Monday. “We got our second [COVID-19 shot] on Friday, which was in April. I just want the record to show, so if you see me showing up, you’ll know that that’s – I’m not playing by the rules.”

Additionally, a pair of previously-announced measures are included in “Operation Jersey Summer.” Gov. Murphy confirmed Monday that all six of New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccine mega sites — including those at RCSJ-Gloucester and the Atlantic City Convention Center — will now accept walk-ins for anyone interested in getting inoculated. The state will also put together a “comprehensive multimedia vaccine awareness campaign,” which will include the “Your Shot, Your Voice” crowdsourcing initiative that allows residents to send short videos explaining why they got vaccinated.

The “Grateful for the Shot” campaign will include a religious tie-in to New Jersey’s effort to boost confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines. As part of this program, religious congregants will be able to go directly from their religious services to vaccination clinics in order to get inoculated. It is similar to the state’s previous “Souls to the Polls” initiative, which allowed congregants to go directly to voting locations from their religious services.

New Jersey will also conduct both door-to-door and electronic outreach as part of “Operation Jersey Summer.” The door-to-door outreach will take place with COVID-19 safety precautions like mask wearing and social distancing in place, and New Jersey will also email residents who pre-registered for the COVID-19 vaccine and have not made an appointment to get inoculated.

“Operation Jersey Summer” was announced alongside the state’s most significant pullback of COVID-19 safety restrictions to date. Although masks and social distancing will still be required statewide, New Jersey will lift nearly all of its other COVID-19 safety restrictions, including capacity limits on indoor dining, other businesses, and the state’s general outdoor capacity limit. The state made this announcement in conjunction with New York and Connecticut, which will also roll back their respective COVID-19 safety measures in the coming weeks. Yesterday’s announced changes will take effect on May 19.

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