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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Vaccinations continue to increase across Alabama as more than 43 percent of the state’s population have received at least their first shot against COVID-19.

The owners of the Brass Tap craft beer bar and restaurant in Huntsville are taking advantage of the momentum and giving $100 gift cards to fully vaccinated employees.

Co-owner Chris Ray says they’ve gone through a lot over the last 13 months and that’s one of the many reasons they want to encourage their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“It’s been a never ending roller coaster, a lot of ups, a lot of downs,” Ray said. “It still continues…. Our employees, since day one of the pandemic starting, most of them really didn’t get a break. There were still here on the front lines worried about their safety and worried about, ‘is it safe to come back to work? Do I want to risk infection or passing COVID to someone else?'”

That’s why the parent company of Brass Tap, which is a Florida based national franchise, is offering it’s employees gift cards to Walmart, Target or Amazon at the employee’s choice.

“It was our job to figure out what we could do to help our staff,” Ray said. “Staff is always the number one priority and that $100 gift card incentive is just part of our efforts to ensure that we provide the safest environment for our guests to come in and eat and for our employees as well.”

Ray uses the word “incentive” because being vaccinated against COVID-19 is not a requirement of his employees.

A spokesperson with Brass Tap’s parent company says about 90 percent of bar, restaurant locations nationwide wide are rewarding their vaccinated employees with gift cards.

Ten percent of Brass Taps, nationwide, opted out of the incentives and are choosing not to give away gift cards, the company says.