St. Louis County mask mandate: Both sides told to keep working toward compromise


ST. LOUIS– The two sides battling over the St. Louis County mask mandate have another 24 hours to reach a compromise.

Attorneys representing the Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and St. Louis County took part in a court hearing Wednesday morning where both sides indicated they were at an impasse.

Today’s hearing comes after Circuit Judge Ellen “Nellie” Ribaudo told the two sides Tuesday to report back to her today with a compromise.

St. Louis County’s attorney told the judge the county was willing to publish a memo saying it will not enforce the mask policy unless it was an extraordinary case.

The attorney for the Missouri Attorney General said it would need to be a recommendation and not a continuation of what he called an “unlawful” order.

Ribaudo said she believes the people of the state need to have their health protected. She said we aren’t talking about money or plans for infrastructure but people’s lives. She said that is worthy of further communication.

There was a St. Louis County Council meeting Tuesday night. There, Republican St. Louis County Councilmember Mark Harder said, “I don’t think it’s a ‘we win – we lose’ situation. If she thinks it could be settled that way, maybe it can be. We’ve got to get this issue settled.”

Harder endorses wearing masks to fight the spread of COVID-19 and the surge of the Delta variant, but he opposes a mask mandate.   

“We’ve been trying to do all along,” Democrat St. Louis County Council Chairwoman Rita Days said. “This is nothing new and it had to take a judge to say, ‘sit down at the table and work this out.’ This is what we knew from the beginning.”

Days also supports wearing masks, but not Page’s mandate.

“I’m vaccinated. I wear masks in a crowd and enclosed places … but that’s my choice,” Harder said.

The resolution supporting the mask mandate failed 5-2 at Tuesday night’s meeting.

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