STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi metropolis says its staff who aren’t vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 can pay increased medical health insurance charges, will probably be required to put on masks in lots of locations on the job and must use sick go away days in the event that they contract the virus.
Starkville metropolis staff who’re vaccinated will obtain as much as 5 extra paid sick days in the event that they contract COVID-19 and a further day if they don’t seem to be feeling nicely after receiving the vaccine, the Commercial Dispatch reported.
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The Starkville Board of Aldermen voted 5-2 Tuesday to set the coverage, which features a $75 additional yearly insurance coverage cost for unvaccinated metropolis employees. It specifies that every one unvaccinated metropolis staff should put on masks in all indoor places until in a non-public workplace and in outside settings the place 6 ft (1.8 meters) of distance from different staff is just not potential.
Failure to conform can lead to an worker being fired. Mayor Lynn Spruill proposed the coverage. She stated it doesn’t require employees to obtain the vaccine but it surely offers incentives to those that are vaccinated. Mississippi has one of many lowest vaccination charges within the nation and hospitals throughout the state have been overrun this summer time with COVID-19 sufferers, the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated.
Firefighter Joseph Diaz spoke in opposition to the coverage.
“I can’t comply along with your coverage of discrimination in opposition to those who haven’t taken the COVID shot,” Diaz stated to the board. “You’ll have to terminate me. I’ve not come right here to persuade you of the correctness of my stance. … To any extent further, my voice and the voice of like-minded staff will probably be greatest heard by our actions.”
Starkville Fireplace Division Lt. Paramedic Likelihood Cummings stated he’s “not anti-vaccination however pro-choice.” He stated Starkville has “claimed to be a metropolis of inclusiveness” by having Satisfaction occasions and marches for racial justice.
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“I assume the pleasure for the LGBTQ+ group and the Black lives solely matter in the event that they’re vaccinated,” Cummings stated.
David Buys, a professor within the Mississippi State College Division of Meals Science, Diet and Well being Promotion, stated public coverage and public well being are aligned. He spoke in favor of the brand new coverage, saying the board ought to take all measures to scale back the unfold of the virus.
“I’d argue that it is a medical freedom — that masking is a medical freedom problem,” Buys stated. “It offers my kids who aren’t capable of be vaccinated the liberty to go to the grocery retailer with me, and my spouse and I don’t must resolve which one goes and which one is maintaining the children.”
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