ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – St. Louis County is ending its indoor mask mandate effective at 8 a.m. Monday.
After repeated criticism from swaths of elected officials, community leaders and St. Louis County residents, County Executive Sam Page said there will now be a recommendation – not an order – that people wear face coverings.
“As an elected official, I could have taken the easy road and done nothing, but as a doctor there’s no way I could do that,” Page said. “I’ve taken grief from COVID-deniers. I’ve listened to anti-vaxxers spread their dangerous lies and misinformation. Criticism always comes with the job.”
In truth, most who opposed Page’s mask requirement, including elected officials, are pro-vaccine but anti-mandate.
“I am glad to hear that the good folks in St. Louis County will no longer be subjected to the tyrannical mask mandates imposed by the county executive,” Sen. Bill Eigel, Republican of neighboring St. Charles County, told Heartlander News. “I am celebrating their liberation and freedom to now choose for themselves what is best for them and their families.”
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a candidate for U.S. Senate, has unleashed a bevy of lawsuits in the past 18 months against St. Louis County, St. Louis City and several other municipalities across Missouri that have attempted to enforce mask mandates. The attorney general also zeroed in on school boards attempting to require masks, suing nearly every school district in the state where the school board voted to enforce a mandate.
“County Executive Page is rescinding an already illegal mandate, but the damage has been done,” Schmitt said. “Our schoolchildren have suffered from these unscientific mask mandates for years, and the full extent of the damage done to our children and to businesses across St. Louis County is not yet known – that’s why this fight is so important.”
The St. Louis County Council voted 4-3 along party lines last month to re-enact the mask mandate. Not even two days later, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit to stop it.
“My office has led the way on fighting mask mandates in St. Louis and across the state, and this is yet another big win that my office has delivered for the people of St. Louis County. We will continue to fight tooth and nail to stop petty tyrants like Sam Page from imposing their will on the people of St. Louis County.”
Public pressure from residents, combined with Schmitt’s consistent legal efforts, is causing mask mandates to lose steam, considering St. Louis was the last place many thought would end the requirement. As time goes on and more lawsuits develop, Missourians should expect other municipalities, including St. Louis City where one is still in effect, to drop their mandates as well.