Town to consider vaccine mandate for employees

The Town of Irmo discussed the possibility of leveling a mandate for all town employees to be vaccinated. In a workshop meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 7, Mayor Barry Walker introduced the idea as a precaution against the surging Delta COVID virus.

“It will save lives and hopefully cut down on vacancies caused by the illness,” said Walker. “The police department would be disrupted if just one officer is exposed as it could cause multiple quarantines.”

Councilman Kelly Busch disagreed saying,”We’ve never been in the business of micromanaging and that’s what we are doing by considering this,”

Town Administrator Courtney Dennis wanted the emphasis to be on the positive side. “We’re well over 80% vaccinated in the town,” said Dennis. ”Most of the others are considering it or have already had it.”

Councilman Eric Sickinger suggested that the town follow the CDC guidelines while considering the mandate.

Just this week the City of Columbia created an ordinance demanding all city employees to be vaccinated by November 1. Columbia developed a financial incentive program to help with the mandate. Frontline essential employees will receive $2,500 and a $500 bonus for being vaccinated. Essential workers would receive $1,250 and the $500 bonus while all other employees would get the $500 for being totally vaccinated.

The Town of Irmo didn’t talk about incentives but some already exist. Police officers in the town received a $1000 incentive for working through the pandemic last year.