The Town of Chapel Hill is offering bonuses to all fully vaccinated employees starting in October, joining other counties in the Triangle area.
Employees have until Sept. 10 to qualify for the $400 bonuses.
Those who choose not to get vaccinated or refuse to share their vaccination status will be required to submit weekly to COVID-19 testing. Vaccinated employees do not have to get tested regularly.
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger said the decision was made before the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine.
“We were seeing variant numbers rise, and we've made a commitment that if we see a percent positive that approaches five percent then we will shift and make adjustments, and we saw that it got up to 4.8 percent,” Hemminger said. “And with the University coming back into session and even more people in our community, it seemed like really good timing to put this all together.”
Hemminger added that the decision was made by four Orange County leaders — the chairperson of the Board of County Commissioners and the three mayors. Although the vaccine is not mandated for Town employees, it is strongly encouraged.
Orange County is currently under a countywide indoor mask mandate, which was reinstated on Aug. 11.
“This step is essential if we hope to slow the spread of the Delta variant," said Renee Price, chairperson of the Orange County Board of Commissioners, in a statement. "If you know individuals who have been reluctant to get the vaccine, please take them to a vaccination site to get their shot and to protect yourself and your family members, friends and neighbors.”
Hemminger said that the incentive was especially important for Town employees since they often interact with members of the public.