Understanding the mask mandate before it goes into effect Friday

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – On Wednesday, St. Louis City and County governments issued orders requiring face coverings at all times when social distancing isn’t possible.

The intent of the order is to require people over the age of 9 without severe breathing symptoms to use a face covering when outside their home or in an enclosed place of public accommodation like a business.

“If a person is inside their private office they are not required to wear a mask. But if two people are in the office, both should wear a covering,” said Doug Moore, director of communications for St. Louis County. “A covering is also required in a business common area. Workplace kitchens are high-risk areas, so coverings are required there. Every business should set clear expectations among employees so everyone is safe.”

Any public accommodation must post a face covering requirement for entry and that it must be worn the entire time while in business.

Businesses are authorized to deny entry to anyone who refuses to wear a face covering without showing medical documentation of condition or disability.

In addition to those with medical conditions, a face covering is not required for the following:

  • People who are hearing impaired and need their mouth to communicate
  • People who are eating and drinking at a business and socially distancing from one another
  • People who are at a pool and in the water
  • People who are getting a face service
  • People playing a sport or exercising and exerting themselves

So how will this be enforced? A person or business can make a complaint with the county. That would trigger a call or letter from the county health department. If a violation continues, it can result in a misdemeanor, punishable with jail time or a $1,000 fine.

But the county stresses that would be a last resort.

Moore said county leadership believes peer pressure works best in this case. They’re relying on everyone to do the right thing here, which will allow businesses to operate.

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