Eureka mayor, some businesses push back against county mask order


EUREKA, Mo. – St. Louis County Executive Sam Page issued a new order requiring masks indoors in the county starting Monday. While some businesses have been requiring masks and say this order does not change how they operate, there are some pushing back.

That includes Eureka Mayor Sean Flower.

“I think it’s time we turn people’s personal medical decisions back over to them,” Flower said.

He took to Facebook after Page announced the order Monday to share his thoughts.

Only St. Louis County Health Department can enforce the masking by taking action against businesses, but Flower said even if he had the ability, he wouldn’t enforce it.

“The word that comes up all the time is ‘enough.’ And I think after two years there are more and more people, regardless of party, that are starting to say ‘there’s enough,'” he said. “We just want to get back to normal the best we can given the constraints that are out there, and that’s what this community will be doing is working on getting our lives back.”

Some St. Louis County businesses feel the same as Flower.

“If you want to mandate something, you come up here, the bug guy, and say put your mask on,” Amer Abouwardah, the owner of Oceano Bistro in Clayton, said.

He said all of his employees are vaccinated and requires them to wear a mask at work. But, not for his customers.

“I’m not going to tell you to wear it,” Abouwardah said. “You’re entitled to your own life I’m not going to tell you how to live your life, I’m going to ask you nicely and politely to wear a mask, if you say no, come on in, I don’t have any power to tell this gentleman to wear this mask or leave my restaurant.”

On the other side, there are some restauranteurs who said this new order does not change how they operate. Herbie’s in Clayton has required customers to wear a mask when they walk inside and anytime, they are not at their table.

“When you walk in our front doors you are required to wear a mask, when you go to your table and eating and drinking you don’t have to wear a mask,” Ben Burris, the reservations manager at Herbie’s, said. “We just want everyone to be safe so having everyone wear a mask is just one step for that.”

At Satchmo’s in Chesterfield, owner Ben Brown said he will not be implementing the mask order.

“It’s difficult from the perspective of a business owner because you don’t really know how much credibility it has,” Brown said.

In 2020, the county health department shut down Brown’s restaurant Satchmo’s in Chesterfield. He said he doesn’t believe this new order will stand up legally.

“I don’t think there is anything to implement, it’s no different than the other half dozen times he came out saying there’s a mandate and we just find out it isn’t true,” Brown said.

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