INDIANAPOLIS — After hosting all of March Madness, Indianapolis is now working to retain more than 200 other upcoming events, such as the FDIC convention in August and the FFA convention in October, which are two of the city's largest events.
"Our economy comes back when our industry comes back, and that's really once folks are comfortable," said Andy Mallon, the executive director of the city's Capital Improvement Board. "Folks will be comfortable when they're fully vaccinated and trust others around them are vaccinated."
The CIB operates Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center. In response to the pandemic, it spent $7 million on health and safety upgrades early on to attract smaller events. In July, it hosted several youth basketball tournaments.
Mallon's goal now is to up the game and get all 130 CIB employees to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated.
"Our hope is to get 100 percent and create a culture in our building that we're looking out for each other and our clients," Mallon said.
A new incentive program aims to up the odds. It provides CIB workers with up to 28 hours of paid leave for getting vaccinated.
Here's the breakdown:
- Employees can earn up to four hours off for a vaccine appointment.
- They get eight hours of recovery time off for each shot.
- They get an eight-hour bonus when fully vaccinated.
It's also retroactive, meaning employees vaccinated before the program began are also eligible for up to 28 hours of paid leave.
Asked about the cost, Mallon said there are no out-of-pocket expenses; it's just adding vacation or personal days.
He said now's a good time for CIB employees to get vaccinated, as it's not too busy in the convention center and before things ramp up in the fall.
Mallon said about 30 percent of CIB employees are currently vaccinated. While he hopes it eventually reaches 100 percent, he said getting vaccinated is not required.