JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – As mask mandates in St. Louis City and County went into place Monday, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt was quick to file a lawsuit against the elected leaders and health directors of both municipalities, accusing them of ignoring federal guidelines.
“This is completely arbitrary and capricious,” Schmitt said. “By the way, that’s not even what the CDC recommends.”
The new health order will require everyone ages 5 and over, including those who are vaccinated, to wear a mask. Wearing masks outdoors, especially in group settings, will be strongly encouraged.
Schmitt’s lawsuit claims neither the city and county cited any kind of “statutory authority” allowing them to issue such mandates, and that the health orders are “unconstitutionally vague” and “restrict the religious freedom of St. Louisans.”
Missouri Governor Mike Parson took to Twitter, saying, “Dictating mask mandates when we have the vaccine is ignoring the real solution and eroding public trust.”
In Missouri, just 40.8% of the population is fully vaccinated. It’s unclear what sort of benchmarks would need to be reached to lift the mask mandate. However, Dr. Clay Dunagan of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force speculated it may take an 80% vaccination rate before the order is rescinded.