St. Louis County Council votes to overturn mask mandate

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 3:37 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (CBS/KMOV) - Only one day after it went into effect, a mask mandate in St. Louis County has been repealed.

The mandate was discussed at Tuesday evening’s St. Louis County Council meeting, and many members of the public spoke out, mostly against the mandate.

Many speakers said it is an issue of freedom, while one said the mandate could be helpful.

Interim St. Louis County Health Director Faisal Khan told the council that data backs up far a mandate, citing rising hospitalizations and an increasing number of younger COVID-19 patients.

The mandate took effect Monday and was put in place by St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones. It requires everyone wear a mask in indoor public settings, regardless of whether or not they have been vaccinated.

Several members of the St. Louis County Council have spoken out against the mandate saying it violates a recently passed state law that requires input from a governing body such as a county council.

“Why weren’t we brought into the loop, why didn’t we have a chance to have input on this? I represent 142,000 people, the vast majority do not want masks,” said Councilman Tim Fitch before the meeting. “The vast majority. I represent them and I should be able to have a voice for them.”

Councilwoman Lisa Clancy told News 4 before the meeting that a legal opinion says the mandate is on solid ground and that the council should careful about what it does.

“I wish we would take the politics out of this and center our community members, especially those who can’t get vaccinated.,” Clancy said before the meeting. “I’m sitting here next to my seven week old baby and I have a 5-year-old too, and children in my community that are especially at risk right now, and we really all need to be considering that.”

Councilman Ernie Trakas said Page could have easily called a special council meeting last week to get input.

Some residents have said the mandate undermines the idea that vaccines work.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has filed a lawsuit to try and block the mandate.

Tuesday, the CDC released new guidance that says everyone should wear masks in indoor public settings in an area with high transmission of COVID-19. The guidance comes as the Delta variant spreads across the country.

The vote to terminate the mandate was 5-2.

A spokesman for Page said he will respond to the vote at a press conference Wednesday.

Before the meeting, Clancy told News 4 she believes lawsuits will be filed concerning the council’s vote. The mandate is still in effect in St. Louis City.

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