St. Louis County council members expected to challenge mask mandate tonight


ST. LOUIS – Some St. Louis County council members are expected to challenge the mask mandate that was reinstated Monday at Tuesday night’s meeting.

County Council Member Tim Fitch is leading the opposition saying the move by St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page violates a new state law.

The new mask mandate went into effect in St. Louis City and St. Louis County Monday. It requires anyone five years and older to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces and on public transportation even if they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19. It also recommends masks be worn in crowded outdoor public settings where there is close contact with other people who may not be fully vaccinated.

There are some exceptions for people with certain medical conditions and when people are eating or drinking. Supporters of the mandate like Page and St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said the mandate is also a public safety measure. They said it’s a response to rising COVID cases and deaths in the area, especially with the highly contagious Delta variant.

But a new law signed by Governor Mike Parson last month limits the ability of local leaders to enact public health orders. Fitch said Page should have come to the council first and that legally he does not have the authority to enact the mandate.

Other council members are also expressing concerns about the mask mandate. Council Member Shalonda Webb released a statement saying she supports mask-wearing but does not support the idea of a county-wide mask mandate. Council Member Mark Harder told the Post-Dispatch that he opposes the mandate as well.

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