FAYETTEVILLE -- County Judge Joseph Wood announced Friday that Washington County will not require county employees be vaccinated for covid-19 and will also not require any proof of negative covid tests.
"Washington County will not require its employees to be vaccinated nor will it require employees to show proof of negative COVID tests," Wood said in a news release. "I encourage the employees and citizens of Washington County to consult their doctor regarding vaccination. If a citizen does not have a doctor, they can visit the Health Department or the County Doctor for advice about the health of themselves and their families."
Brian Lester, county attorney, said Wood's statement was a response to President Joe Biden's announcement Thursday of a vaccination mandate for all federal employees and contractors and a requirement large companies must mandate vaccines or testing for employees.
"The judge heard that and said 'That's wrong. We're not going to do that.'" Lester said Friday morning.
Benton County Judge Barry Moehring said Friday he has no plans for a vaccination mandate for county employees. Moehring said the county has and will continue to "strongly encourage" employees who feel comfortable about the vaccines to get vaccinated and to urge those with questions to consult with their doctors.
Moehring said the county will continue its policy of offering employees paid time off to get vaccinated and paid sick time for employees who may have a reaction to the vaccination. He said the county has sponsored vaccination clinics and may offer more if there is a need.