JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced a lawsuit against St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and its Director, Dr. Faisal Khan, in a press release on Tuesday.
The Attorney General’s Office states that the lawsuit was in response to the “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable application of COVID-19 restrictions in St. Louis County.”
“Specifically, the suit takes issue with the restrictions on religious institutions, masking requirements for K-12 education, government pre-approval for events, and outdoor mask requirements, among others,” the statement read.
Schmitt emphasized claims that St. Louis County officials have gone too far with their restrictions as access to vaccines has widely improved across the state.
“This seemingly unending control over people’s lives must end,” he said. “Vaccines are widely available to all adults – it’s past time for St. Louis County to lift these restrictions, and that’s why I filed suit today.”
The Attorney General’s office recently sent a letter to Page, asking for more information on St. Louis County’s Fifth Amended “Safer at Home” order. Specifically, seeking research and justification for the restrictions and lockdowns that have been put in place across the county. St. Louis County’s response letter reportedly failed to address several of the issues and questions raised in the Attorney General’s initial letter.
Within a week of sending the response letter, Page introduced the “Reopen STL” order, which removed certain “objectionable restrictions” that the Attorney General’s office raised in its letter.
However, the lawsuit states that the new order still imposes “significant restrictions on personal and religious freedoms, and it contains many provisions that are arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, vague, and self-contradictory.”
According to the statement, the lawsuit brings eight total counts against St. Louis County:
- Two counts related to religious exercise;
- One count alleging violation of freedom of assembly for requiring events to be approved by the government;
- One count alleging that the latest order is vague and should be declared void;
- Four counts alleging St. Louis County’s Order is arbitrary and capricious for failing to give meaningful consideration to negative impacts of the Order, for failing to consider less restrictive alternatives, for failing to provide criteria for lifting restrictions, and for broadly unreasonable substantive restrictions.
The lawsuit asks the court for an injunction or other appropriate action related to the claims brought against the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and officials.