Two Melbourne cinemas have joined the growing list of businesses offering rewards to customers and staff who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Classic Cinema, an arthouse cinema located in Elsternwick in Melbourne’s south, and its sister venue Lido, are offering free popcorn and ice creams to customers who show proof of vaccination or an upcoming appointment.
“As a cinema, all we really want to do is show you great movies. Lockdowns make that tricky,” Classic Cinemas said in a Facebook post.
“We want to be open, and stay open, and so we will encourage anyone who is eligible to get the jab to be vaccinated the only way we know how, with our delicious, vegan, freshly popped corn – for free.”
The ‘Free Snacks for Vax’ deal is available at the cinemas’ box offices over the long weekend where staff are working to support their customers watching movies at home.
While cinemas in Melbourne are closed due to current circuit breaker restrictions, Lido and Classic Cinemas have a large selection of arthouse films available to stream via their online platforms.
Green light to offer vaccine rewards
Confusion over whether businesses could offer bonuses to vaccinated customers or staff was quelled on Monday, when the medicine regulator updated its guidelines.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) confirmed in a statement that businesses are allowed to offer cash rewards and gifts to customers and staff who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Under the new arrangements, which will be in place until December 2022, businesses can supplement government public health campaigns “through offers of practical support including rewards that encourage Australians to be vaccinated”.
Rewards can include store vouchers, discounts or frequent flyer points, but can’t include alcohol, tobacco or medicines.
Businesses can also create their own informational materials to support the vaccine rollout, provided the content is consistent with government messaging.
The TGA’s guidelines prohibit businesses from sharing information that references specific brands of vaccines, makes false or misleading statements, or promotes any vaccine that does not have the regulator’s approval.
Classic Cinemas’ announcement to offer free popcorn comes after Melbourne-based homewares distributor HAG Import told its employees last week they could receive a $100 Myer voucher if they receive the vaccine.
Qantas is planning to rollout a vaccine promotion through its frequent flyer points program, giving customers who have received both doses of a vaccine additional points of flight vouchers.
Last week, about 773,000 Australians were vaccinated, bringing the country’s total vaccinations to more than 5 million.