COVID-19: Brunswick commission approves vaccine incentive for city employees

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — In a 3 to 2 vote, Brunswick commissioners voted to pay city employees a $500 incentive to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Currently, 46% of city employees are vaccinated, but the commission set a goal of 75%.

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“This is real — what’s happening to us. And if we can do anything, we can be part of the solution to curb this,” Mayor Cornell Harvey said.

It would cost a total of nearly $70,000 to pay employees who already got the shot and incentivize those who are hesitant.

“It seems like a small drop in the bucket for that if it gets us to where we want to go,” Harvey said.

But not all commissioners were on board. Adie Martin questioned the timing and said the city should hold off, especially with President Joe Biden’s announcement to require employers of 100 or more employees to mandate the vaccine.

“I do think that we need to be very conscientious and protect our employees, but I would rather be cautious on moving forward on anything at this point,” she said.

According to the city manager, municipalities are exempt from the president’s announcement.

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Fifteen Brunswick city employees have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two months. The city manager said quarantines and time-off have stretched other staff members thin.

Employees will have until Dec. 31 to show proof of vaccination to qualify for the incentive.