Cleburne County Sheriff Chris Brown and Cleburne County Judge Jerry Holmes have both released statements that the county has no intention to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for county employees.

Holmes’ statement Monday was:

“Even though my time in office is short, Cleburne County has no intention of mandating our employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine or show weekly proof of a negative test. I feel that should be a decision makes on their own or after consultation with their physician.”

In a social media post Friday, Brown wrote a longer statement:

“Since March of 2020, we have seen much controversy over COVID, mandates, restrictions, lockdowns, vaccines, and a number of other things. We have watched as this topic has divided families, friends, and coworkers. We have seen an unprecedented amount of division, hate, and contention among Americans. With the rollout of the COVID vaccines, that division has become more and more widened, and the vitriol more intense between those who believe in the vaccines, those who don’t, and those who are undecided.”

“As law enforcement officers, our first duty and what we swear an oath to, is to support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Arkansas. It is in that defense and the defense of individual liberty that the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office has not, and will not mandate the COVID vaccine for any of our employees. Just like with the flu shot, their choice to get vaccinated or not is theirs and theirs alone, and we respect their decisions.”

“I am not pro-vaccine, and I am not anti-vaccine. I am pro-freedom, and I am for each person’s ability and responsibility to decide for themselves (in conjunction with their doctor) whether or not to get the vaccine.”

“I am appalled at some of the absolute dictator-like things we are seeing from the Federal Government, and several of the State Governments. It is absolute tyranny, and completely abhorrent. It flies in the face of everything our country has always stood for, and is only furthering the damage and division done to the people of this wonderful nation.”

“C.S. Lewis said this: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

“It’s time for our politicians and other public servants to stand up and remember that their first responsibility is to protect people’s rights, not to run their lives.”

The post received some 62,000 reactions, 11,000 comments, 172,000 shares.

President Joe Biden announced last week private businesses require employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Gov. Asa Hutchinson was quick to issue a response. Hutchinson, a Republican who chairs the National Governors Association, compared Biden’s order to a push by some conservatives to prohibit private businesses from requiring vaccinations.

“I have been consistent in the freedom of businesses to require their employees to be vaccinated, and I have opposed the government from saying businesses cannot exercise that freedom,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “The same principle should protect the private sector from government overreach that requires them to vaccinate all employees.”

According to the Associated Press, the mandate would make businesses with 100 or more employees require those workers to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.

Some of Arkansas’ largest employers already require employees to be vaccinated. Springdale-based Tyson Foods last month announced the requirement for its U.S employees. Bentonville-based Walmart is requiring that all workers at its headquarters as well as its managers who travel within the U.S. be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 4.Several hospitals in the state have also announced vaccine requirements for their employees.

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