FAYETTEVILLE -- County Judge Joseph Wood announced Friday that Washington County will not require its employees to be vaccinated for covid-19, nor will it require any proof of negative covid tests.
"I encourage the employees and citizens of Washington County to consult their doctor regarding vaccination," Wood said in a news release. "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 that large companies mandate vaccinations or testing for employees.
"The judge heard that and said, 'That's wrong. We're not going to do that,'" Lester said Friday.
Benton County's County Judge Barry Moehring said Friday that 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 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 adverse reactions to a vaccination. He said the county has sponsored vaccination clinics and may offer more if there is a need.