Local county mayors explain decision to sign ‘government overreach’ letter

Local Coronavirus Coverage

(WJHL) – Last week, a group of 55 county mayors from the Volunteer State signed a letter to Gov. Bill Lee voicing concern over the impending federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has finalized an initial draft of President Joe Biden’s emergency order that directs businesses with 100 or more employees to require the COVID-19 vaccine or be subject to weekly testing.

“When it comes to a decision on this sort of personal level of magnitude – I think that decision is best left to the individual,” Greene County Mayor Kevin Morrison said.

Not only does Morrison believe the rights of Tennessee citizens are at risk, but he also feels any attempt to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine would be unconstitutional.

“The fact that the government is mandating something to be put into your body, that you cannot remove, that you may have objection to — whether it be religious or otherwise — that’s not the country we signed up for,” he said.

Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable also feels any regulations regarding a COVID-19 vaccine mandate would be an overstep.

“Every time the government tries to use a tool that’s not proper, it damages us – and it can damage our local economy significantly,” he said.

Venable believes the mandate would drive some employees to leave jobs at businesses that have already suffered from the effects of the pandemic for the last 19 months.

“We’re not in a time where we need to strangle our business,” he said.

Venable told News Channel 11 that he encourages those that choose to wear a mask and get vaccinated against COVID-19 to do so. But, the keyword is choice.

 “That’s an individual, personal choice and it needs to be left to that individual and that personal choice.”

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