Broward will be giving county employees who get COVID-19 vaccines a $500 payment, while those who remain unvaccinated could face a bi-weekly surcharge and weekly testing, Mayor Steve Geller said Wednesday.
Geller said the program is expected to be implemented by the end of September. The county has about 6,800 employees but it's unknown how many are vaccinated, Geller said.
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Eligible county employees will have 60 days to provide proof of vaccination in exchange for the one-time $500 payment, Geller said.
Any county employee who doesn't show proof and who is receiving employment benefits like healthcare will have to pay a $20 bi-weekly surcharge, Geller said. They are also going to have to submit to weekly COVID testing.
Geller said the county will reexamine the program at the end of the year and could implement more drastic measures, like mandatory vaccinations.
"We're going to try this first and see if it works," Geller said. "We believe we have the legal right to do more if this is not sufficient."
Broward County has seen more than 330,000 COVID-19 cases since March of 2020, and has a vaccination rate of 79%, according to figures from the Florida Department of Health.
Geller said Broward led the nation in August in the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19. Hospitalizations in the county have been steadily declining since the end of August.
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