GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The South Carolina Sheriff’s Association issued a press release Friday that it will not be enforcing a vaccine mandate within sheriff’s offices across the state, and in other work places. This comes after President Biden announced Sept. 9 Covid-19 vaccine mandates for employers.

The new measures require employers with at least 100 employees to make sure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated workers provide a negative test at least once a week.

Greenville County’s Sheriff Hobart Lewis weighed in on the Executive Order, saying he personally thinks it’s unconstitutional, and that it’s a personal decision to get vaccinated.

“We tried to release a statement that would include all 46 sheriffs in South Carolina and I think the letters pretty plain, that we’re concerned about government overreach and a number of cases,” Sheriff Lewis said. “This being one of them. That we wouldn’t enforce any type of requirement for a mandatory vaccine.”

Sheriff Lewis explained that his deputies wouldn’t be able to enforce a mandate even if they wanted to.

“By our state constitution, sheriffs, and sheriff’s deputies, and police officers have really no authority to enforce a federal mandate, federal law, at all,” Sheriff Lewis said.

He said it has nothing to do with the vaccine itself.

“That’s a family decision, personal decision you need to make, whether or not you get the vaccine and which one you get. It has nothing to do with that,” Sheriff Lewis explained. “This is about a government mandate requiring you to get stuck and that’s something we’re not going to enforce and we’re not going to get behind.”

Sheriff Lewis said he will also not be requiring unvaccinated staff to get tested on a weekly basis

He said the office will continue to take care of its employees, and the citizens — but they also are going to protect people’s rights to choose whether or not they get vaccinated.