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ST. LOUIS — The Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis announced it’s lifting its mask mandate at the park. As people plan to get out for the fourth of July holiday weekend.

On June 6, the arch implemented a mask requirement for employees, visitors, partners, and contractors because the COVID transmission and positivity rate was on the rise at the time.

In the last few weeks, the COVID-19 levels have been falling in the St. Louis area, and arch officials have lifted the mask requirement.

Huge crowds are expected at the arch grounds over the independence day holiday weekend.

“Our policy is that we follow CDC guidelines and especially the community transmission rate in the community that we are located,” said Pam Sanfilippo, gateway arch program manager for museum services and interpretation. “When the City of St. Louis last week lowered their transmission rate from the high level to the medium, we were able to eliminate the mask mandate.”

Masks are not required, but they are still optional. Face masks will be offered to arch visitors free of charge.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force continued to strongly recommend wearing face masks at indoor holiday gatherings this weekend and wearing them outdoors in crowded areas when social distancing isn’t possible.