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City Considering Incentives for Employees to Get Vaccinated

Patti Singer

Rochester City Hall. File photo

The city is working on negotiating an incentive for its employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to compensate those already inoculated, according to a spokesman.

The plan comes as the city announced on Aug. 15 that the clerk’s office and the treasury department would be closed until Aug. 18 because multiple employees tested positive for the virus. An exact number was not given.

In a follow-up email exchange, spokesman Justin Roj said it was hoped a plan to encourage vaccination would be in place shortly. He was not specific but he said any plan would need to be approved by City Council.

The city has no mandate for vaccination.

City Council is scheduled to meet Aug. 17. The agenda posted Aug. 16 did not have any references to such a plan.

The clerk and treasury offices are next to each other in City Hall. The offices will be deep cleaned and employees will be tested before they come back to work.

Residents can use drop boxes at the Link Entrance to City Hall on Fitzhugh Street from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Payments should be submitted using a check or money order. Anyone needing to use cash should wait until the offices reopen on Wednesday. Delayed payments during the next two days will not incur any additional interest, penalties or fees.

As of Aug. 3 all employees and visitors at City Hall have been required to wear masks in common areas. However, any visitors to the clerk or treasury during the last week are encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 as a precaution.

The statement about the cases said “there is no reason for any concern related to any other city offices or departments at this time.”

The announcement of cases in the clerk and treasury offices come as cases of COVID-19 have increased throughout Monroe County – and the rest of the nation.

On Aug. 12, Monroe County’s rate per 100,000 population put in the category of high transmission. The county reported more than 100 per cases a day nearly half the days through Aug. 13. On Aug. 11, the county reported 168 cases, the most since May.

With schools scheduled to reopen in less than a month, Dr. Michael Mendoza, commissioner of the Monroe County Department of Public Health, issued the following guidance to reduce the risk of transmission:

  • Regardless of your vaccination status, wear a mask while in public settings that are indoors
  • When gathering with family, friends or co-workers, stay outside as much as possible. If the weather makes it difficult, consider holding smaller gatherings, physical distancing and masking indoors as much as possible.
  • Stay home from work, school, daycare and other locations when you are ill, and call your health care provider to discuss your symptoms.
  • Be extra vigilant about masking and physical distancing while traveling, especially to areas with even higher transmission or lower vaccination rates — such as Florida and Texas. Take precautions when entertaining visitors from other areas.
  • If a contact tracer calls, please remember that your cooperation during the interview and isolation/quarantine process is essential to the health and safety of others.