DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — About 180 city of Delray Beach employees will receive a one-time $500 payment if they provide proof of having received the COVID-19 vaccine.
City commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a motion to provide the hazard pay to about 180 ancillary essential staff, so long as those employees provide proof of vaccination.
Employees eligible to receive the pay would be those who have worked throughout the pandemic, namely from the Utilities and Parks and Recreation departments.
"I think this would go a long way in showing our appreciation over this last year-and-a-half," Commissioner Ryan Boylston said.
The funding would come from the city's $11 million American Rescue Plan allotment.
If every eligible employee receives the $500, the city's total payout would amount to $90,000 -- less than 1% of the ARP funding, Boylston said.
Deputy Vice Mayor Adam Frankel added an amendment to the motion that the money be conditional upon providing proof of vaccination.
Frankel's caveat came after Duane D'Andrea, human resources director for the city, revealed the city's subpar vaccination numbers among its employees.
New City Manager Terrence Moore, who assumed the role last week, recently announced that all city employees must show proof of vaccination or COVID-19 test results as a condition of employment.
The deadline for all employees to provide the proof is Aug. 30.
D'Andrea said that 37.3% of Delray Beach employees have been vaccinated as of Tuesday's meeting.
"That's significantly up from when Mr. Moore first put the communication out of the initiative," D'Andrea told commissioners. "We only had about 8% at that point, so 37.3, we've gained a lot of ground."
Mayor Shelly Petrolia seemed surprised by the numbers.
"Hold on just a second, you had 8% vaccinated or…?" Petrolia asked.
"Eight percent that had showed proof; 37.3% have shown proof now," D'Andrea said.
Petrolia said she was "stunned" by the low vaccination rate.
"I thought it was more like 40%," she said.