KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs sent a letter to President Joe Biden this week regarding last week’s announcement from The White House about COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
In the open letter, Jacobs asserts the Knox County government will not comply with the forthcoming rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that carries penalties for large companies that don’t mandate the vaccines or weekly testing for employees.
“Knox County will not comply with your mandate,” Jacobs’ letter states. The county government employs 2,700 people and Jacobs claims the mandate would add financial and legal burdens that would ultimately be passed on to taxpayers and make the area less attractive to potential employees.
“As the chief executive of an organization that employs 2,700 individuals, your action adds financial, legal and regulatory burdens that will ultimately impact Knox County taxpayers. In addition, it potentially hinders our ability to attract quality employees since many folks in our community will not work somewhere that unjustly imposes vaccine mandates.”
View the letter in the window below:
The Biden administration announced on Sept. 9 that all employers with 100+ employees must either mandate vaccines or test weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. The requirement for large companies to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing for employees will be enacted through a forthcoming rule from the OSHA that carries penalties of $14,000 per violation, an administration official said. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement this requirement.
The White House did not immediately say when it would take effect, but said workers would have sufficient time to get vaccinated.
Biden signed an executive order to require vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government — with no option to test out. That covers several million more workers.
The Biden administration is also requiring vaccinations for 17 million healthcare workers.
NewsNation Now contributed to this report.