ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County rescinded its mask mandate Wednesday, weeks after a Cole County judge barred local health departments from issuing them.
Businesses like Rich and Charlie’s in St. Louis County have been dealing with months of mixed messages, as the county and state were at odds over COVID-related health orders.
“Up until today, I’d been wearing a mask every day at work, and I can’t say it’s not nice to wear it, but I also can’t say I won’t wear it,” said manager Jacob Green.
Despite the end of the mandate, St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page tweeted: “The Health Department continues to recommend masks in indoor settings. COVID cases are rising.”
Dr. Clay Dunagan, the head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said he is disappointed the mask mandate has been removed.
“It’s unfortunate that we are so tangled up in arguing about the legality of mandates and public health orders,” said Dunagan.
Dunagan said the county is removing the requirement of one of the best tools to fight the spread of COVID at a time when cases are escalating
“Vaccinations, while we all want that for the long-term benefit of the population, they don’t help us when we’re in a surge like we are now,” said Dunagan. “We have to take steps that immediately decrease transmissibility. Masking is really one of the best things.”
Dunagan said the St. Louis area is seeing increases in COVID cases similar to last fall’s spike.