St. Charles County won’t mandate masks despite pandemic task force warning

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ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo- Through tears today, the head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force pleaded for help from citizens and leaders to slow the pandemic. He called out areas without mask mandates.

Dr. Alex Garza became choked up as he said, “Our healthcare heroes have fought (he looked down, fighting tears) valiantly day after day, but we have no reserves.”

Garza today said the St. Louis area is out of options and out of hospital space, with cases rising faster in rural areas. He said, “COVID patients are crossing county lines to go to hospitals. The lack of a mask mandate in one county has implications for residents and health care professionals in other parts of the state.”

Dr. Clay Dunagan added that not a day goes by that they’re not asking leaders to impose mandates. He said, “There’s nothing about our country that says it’s ok for people to do things that put other people’s health at risk. Not wearing a mask is one of those things.”

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann is one leader who’s resisted requiring masks. He said, “I’m afraid that government telling people they have to do that might actually lead to more people not wearing a mask and that’s the last thing we need right now.”

Ehlmann said he doesn’t go anywhere without his mask and he also believes they slow the spread of infection while adding, “I want to make sure no one thinks that we don’t agree this is a real crisis situation.”

He says he only disagrees with telling people they’re required to do something.

Ehlmann said “Voluntary compliance is absolutely necessary whether it’s quarantine or masks or social distancing. You’ve got to sell this to the people and they’ve got to believe in it and then they’ve got to do it.”

Dr Garza said Ehlmann’s position is why it’s important for Missouri’s Governor to enact a mask mandate. He said, “I liken this to my time in the military. You cannot have an affective campaign strategy with 5 generals.”

Garza said leaders who take stands would lead to more citizens doing the right thing, while also taking the pressure off of businesses who are trying to please their customers.

He ended today saying, “History will judge us.”

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