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Chef José Andrés offers $50 restaurant gift cards to incentivize vaccines

The offer is for anyone not yet vaccinated who chooses to get the vaccine starting May 8.

WASHINGTON — If you're looking for one more reason to get a COVID vaccine, chef José Andrés has a deal for you. The chef-turned-humanitarian will hand out gift certificates to his D.C. restaurants to anyone who can prove they get a shot, starting Saturday. 

"Ok! We want everyone vaccinated!" the chef tweeted Friday. "Starting tomorrow, until we reach 70% of total population anyone that comes with vaccine papers, that proves that has been vaccinated will get a $50 gift certificate for any ThinkFoodGroup restaurants in the [DC] area."

The tweet caused some confusion online over who qualified for the promotion. A follow-up email to Andrés' spokesperson clarified the gift certificates are for "anyone not yet vaccinated who gets vaccinated starting [Saturday]." The spokesperson also said the offer is for those getting their first dose of the vaccine.

Here's where the gift cards can be used:

  • Jaleo DC
  • Jaleo Crystal City
  • Oyamel
  • Zaytinya
  • China Chilcano

RELATED: Maryland offers $100 to state employees who get vaccinated

The spokeswoman said the gift certificates must be used within 30 days and they are only good for food purchases. 

Throughout the pandemic, Andrés has found ways to continue serving his community -- literally. 

Initially, Andrés closed all of his local restaurants to prevent the spread of coronavirus. He re-opened five locations as community kitchens, offering discounted meals for takeout. Andrés also launched bodega markets to sell staple pantry items and household goods. 

The World Central Kitchen founder delivered meals to National Guard soldiers stationed in D.C. after the Capitol riot in January, fed voters waiting in long poll lines leading up to Election Day and ran multiple hot meal events at local sports arenas, open to any family in need during the pandemic.

RELATED: Get 'a shot and a beer' at Kennedy Center vaccination event

Andrés is not the only Washingtonian to get in on the incentives for shots game. Thursday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser hosted an event at the Kenedy Center offering Johnson & Johnson vaccines with a side of (free) beer. 

On Saturday, May 8, the day before Mother’s Day, the first 51 people who come to get vaccinated at each of the six walk-up sites open that day in D.C. will receive free flowers and plants, along with special “Vaxed for Mom” and “Vaxed for Dad” temporary tattoos to help spread the word about the importance of getting vaccinated.  

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