St. Louis County Council faces pushback ahead of mask mandate vote tonight


ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The St. Louis County Council is set to again take up the mask mandate issue at its regular meeting Tuesday inside the main county administration building.

County Council Member Lisa Clancy has an agenda item calling for a vote on a countywide mask mandate. Clancy says her proposed mandate would be the same as the one recommended by the St. Louis County Health Department. It would require anyone five and older in the county to wear a mask while in indoor public spaces and on public transportation. Clancy says the council must uphold its commitment to serve the residents of the region by doing what they say will slow the spread of COVID-19.

One question that has come up is, why does the council need to approve a mask mandate when some including County Executive Dr. Sam Page already say a county mask mandate is already in effect. Page’s chief spokesperson Doug Moore says having a mask mandate approved by the council would clear up any confusion about whether a mandate is actually in place.

Clancy’s move has already gotten pushback from council members including Tim Fitch. He has written a letter saying Clancy’s call for a vote goes against the normal legislative process because she is trying to do everything in just one meeting. He also argues it violates state law. A recent ruling by a Cole County judge says all health orders related to the spread of COVID-19 in Missouri should be lifted because they violate the state constitution.

Another issue comes from a court hearing scheduled for Thursday before St. Louis County Judge Ellen “Nellie” Ribaudo. In that case, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is trying to stop the county’s September mask mandate arguing it is unconstitutional.

The vote comes as COVID-19 cases in the St. Louis area continue to increase. Hospitals have 74 new admissions. That’s the largest one-day caseload since September. Overall, there are 489 people in the hospital with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID. Of those, 26 percent are fully vaccinated. There have been18 more COVID-related deaths over the past three days.

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m.

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