Savannah Mayor Van Johnson: Mandatory vaccinations for city employees possible

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 4:23 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah Mayor Van Johnson doubled down Tuesday on the changes that could be coming as Savannah and the surrounding areas continue to hit record COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Mayor Johnson says the numbers speak for themselves.

“Last week, all eight counties in the Coastal Health District set new records for COVID-19 transmission and hospitalizations also hit an all-time high,” he said.

With Labor Day approaching and a busy month of events in October, the Mayor says what the rest of the year looks like will be purely cause and effect.

“If we hunker down now, and do what we’re supposed to, and our numbers are trending down or holding steady, then we get the opportunity to talk about October. If we have a significant bump in September, then we start canceling stuff for October and November,” said Mayor Johnson.

Mayor Johnson has said less than 50 percent of city staff are fully vaccinated and he wants that number to grow.

“In terms of mandatory vaccinations for our employees, it’s still on the table,” he said.

Mayor Johnson is hoping to have more information on the vaccine incentive program for city staff by next week.

“Obviously we think cash incentives work. We think that it provides an immediate financial benefit,” he said.

Mayor Johnson says they didn’t consider vaccine incentive programs earlier because the City didn’t have the funding. The City’s one-day of pay incentive for vaccinated city employees ends tomorrow, just in time for a new program.

Mayor Johnson also emphasized that we need a statewide mask mandate. He says at some point we need to put politics aside and follow the science.

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