Brunswick city staff could get $500 bonuses for getting the COVID-19 vaccine

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — How would you like $500 just for getting the COVID-19 vaccine? The City of Brunswick is toying with the idea to do just that for its 210 employees.

City Manager Regina McDuffie says right now, just 46% of the city’s employees are vaccinated. She’d like that number to climb to at least 75%.

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McDuffie thinks offering them $500 bonuses just might do the trick.

“Other cities are giving incentives such as this so we decided this would be a better way to encourage people,” McDuffie said.

To make it fair, the bonus would be for those who’ve already gotten the jab, and those who plan to get it before the end of 2021.

If 75% of city staff get vaccinated, McDuffie says their bonuses would cost the city around $70,000 dollars. She says the funding would come from the American Rescue Plan Act, which is part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package set to help cities through the COVID-19 crisis.

McDuffie says in the last six weeks, close to 30 city employees have been out sick with COVID-19. She says the sick-outs put a strain on the people who are left working, leaving departments like fire and police short-staffed.

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“We want to give them the opportunity to make the choice,” she said. “It is so critical right now.”

City leaders will vote on the proposed $500 bonuses on Wednesday.