A mandate for all Washington County employees to be vaccinated or undergo bi-weekly COVID-19 testing at their own expense is now in effect.
During Monday’s regular meeting, the Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 1 for the mandate to go into effect after having reviewed the most recent copy of the vaccine mandate prepared by board attorney Willie Griffin.
Board president Carl McGee’s was the dissenting vote.
The recommendation of a vaccine mandate for county employees was made by District 4 Supervisor Mala Brooks during the BOS’ Sept. 7 meeting.
After she made the motion to require such a mandate, District 5 Supervisor Jerry Redmond seconded the motion and District 2 Supervisor Tommy Benson voted in kind.
District 1 Supervisor Lee Gordon and McGee voted in opposition.
“I wish everybody would. I’m vaccinated, but I’m just not at that point,” Gordon said.
McGee, who felt similarly, said, “I’m simply just not there just yet.”
After the 3-2 vote, the board voted unanimously to authorize the development of a policy pertaining to mandatory vaccination and COVID-19 testing to be implemented before the mandate goes into effect, per the recommendation of Griffin.
The Amended Order and Policy Establishing Mandatory Vaccine COVID-19 Guidelines for Employees of Washington County includes a section that defines a “covered employee” and “fully vaccinated.”
“The term “covered employee” means elected officials including the members of the board of supervisors, county prosecutor, board attorney, public defender and staff, other elected officials who expressly opt-in to the vaccine program, county administrator, all persons employed as department heads, staff of any type, members of the road and bridge crews, maintenance or ground keepers and any other person who works for or receives compensation from Washington County,” the order states.
Fully vaccinated means “vaccinated using the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine as authorized by the CDC or FDA.
As it pertains to covered employees, the order states, “Covered employees who elect not to take the vaccine shall be subjected to weekly testing at their own cost without additional leave time, and shall provide the County Administrator proof of the same within two days thereafter and continue to wear a face covering at all times at the workplace and/or during work hours where said employee can be expected to physically interact with other employees and members of the public in the course of performing their job duties. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.”