NORTH CAROLINA, USA — More Triad cities are talking about mandatory testing for employees who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19, others are opting for vaccine incentives, and some are doing both.
City of Winston-Salem
Winston-Salem city council approved a vaccination policy for its city workers Monday night.
Starting next week, vaccinated employees will be getting a payday. Winston-Salem city employees who are already vaccinated or get their shot will get a cash incentive. Full-time workers will get $1,000 and part-time workers will get $500 dollars.
After six weeks, the incentive will shrink to $500 for full-time workers and $200 for part-time workers.
Winston-Salem city employees who don't get vaccinated in six weeks will have to get tested weekly for at least a month.
Guilford County rolled out its plan weeks ago at the beginning of October.
"It’s the right thing to do," Guilford County Commission Chairman Skip Alston said.
Alston said all county employees need to be vaccinated or take mandatory tests each week.
"Right now 71 percent of all of our staff are vaccinated. The other 29 percent have to go through mandatory testing and that testing started last Monday," he said.
Alston said the federal government covers the cost so it doesn't fall on the county or the employees. He said the county needs to set an example for the people who live in it.
"We want to practice what we preach and we have to make sure that our employees who are dealing with our citizens, not because the citizens want to but they have to go to some of these services," said Alston, "So they want to make sure that the person in front of them is not going to infect them if they were to sneeze or cough."
City of Greensboro
On Tuesday night, during the city council meeting, Greensboro City Manager Chris Wilson said starting Nov. 1, unvaccinated city employees will have to get tested for COVID-19 every week.
Wilson said the policy is not forever and with improving trends, the city hopes to peel the policy back.
As an incentive, the city is offering eight hours of vacation for full-time employees who have been vaccinated. Part-time employees get two hours per shot, so if they’re fully vaccinated they get four hours of paid time..
City of High Point
The city of High Point said it doesn't have a mandatory vaccination or testing policy in place for city employees, instead, it has an incentive policy for vaccinated employees right now.
If High Point city employees get fully vaccinated by November 30, they'll receive $250. If 70 percent of city employees get vaccinated, the city said people will get an additional $250.
Jeron Hollis with the city said the incentive is really motivating people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Hollis said once the deadline rolls around, the city will have a better idea about how many city employees are fully vaccinated.
City of Burlington
The city of Burlington said it doesn't currently have any planned vaccine mandates.