St. Louis City and County issue mask mandate to begin Monday

Coronavirus

CLAYTON, Mo. – St. Louis City and County will require masks to be worn in indoor public places and on public transportation beginning Monday. The new health order will require everyone age five and over, including those who are vaccinated, to wear a mask. Wearing masks outdoors, especially in group settings, will be strongly encouraged.

Some opponents of the mandate say it reduces the incentive to be vaccinated.  Some business owners already hit hard by the pandemic have also raised concerns.  They say a mandate will send some customers to border counties without a mandate.

Mayor Tishaura O. Jones and County Executive Dr. Sam Page will hold a joint press conference Monday at 9:30 am to take questions about the new mask mandate.

“We’ve lost more than 500 St. Louisans to COVID-19, and if our region doesn’t work together to protect one another, we could see spikes that overwhelm our hospital and public health systems,” writes Dr. Fredrick Echols, acting director of health for the City of St. Louis.

This is the first time local leaders have issued a new order since Gov. Mike Parson signed Bill 271 on June 15, 2021. The bill limits the power of emergency health orders issued by local governments.

St. Louis County Councilman Tim Fitch tweeted an image of a memorandum Friday, which requested adding an agenda item under “Other Communications” for discussion and possible vote to Tuesday’s County Council meeting. 

“The Council can act as soon as Tuesday to terminate the County Executive’s new health mandate. He still has not communicated to us his reasons for the mandate, as required in the new statute,” Fitch’s tweet said.

The mandate could be headed for a court challenge. Missouri State Attorney Gen. Eric Schmitt tweeted Friday night that he plans to file a suit.

A statement from the St. Louis Mayor’s office says that there are some exceptions in the new health orders. They include people who are seated in a restaurant or bar eating and drinking and individuals with disabilities that prevent them from putting on or removing face coverings. 

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