by SC Associate Publisher Chuck Larsen
Sanibel City Council covered several Covid-19 issues at their meeting today, Nov 2.
It was reported that 72 percent of city employees are now vaccinated compared with 63.5 percent in Lee County. Interim City Manager Steve Chaipel said that the recent incentive program giving employees $500 cash for getting vaccinated helped increase the number locally.
While not mandating vaccination, City Council voted unanimously to offer a $500 cash incentive to any new employees hired who are already vaccinated or who get vaccinated with 60 days of employment. The incentive will begin immediately and run for 12 months.
For booster shots, Sanibel previously offered four hours of paid leave for any employees getting a Covid booster.
Council passed a motion to reopen City Hall to visitors on site with masking.
The electronic sign just off the causeway has been used for mask and vaccination messages. Councilman John Henshaw felt that nobody would get vaccinated due to reading the sign. Councilman Scot Crater said the sign was still effective and important to let everyone know the city takes Covid seriously.
Council voted 3-2 to remove the sign. Councilmen Crater and Mike Miller voted against the removal motion.
Council considered removing the mask requirement at the Recreation Center. The new filtration and ventilation system has been installed, but is not fully operational due to some missing parts which are on back order.
Council voted 4-1 to retain the mask requirement and reconsider when the filtration and ventilation system is fully operational. Mayor Holly Smith voted against the motion.