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St. Louis County executive says mask mandate stands; Missouri attorney general seeks restraining order

Annika Merrilees, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in News & Features

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis County Executive Sam Page defended the county's mask mandate Wednesday morning — and insisted it remained in effect — after County Council members voted the previous night to end the new public health order.

But state Attorney General Eric Schmitt sided with the council. Late Wednesday afternoon, he said he filed for a temporary restraining order against the county mandate.

"Page and (County Health Director Faisal) Khan's refusal to withdraw their Mask Mandate is an act of stunning defiance of state law," Schmitt said in his motion to block the mask order.

On Monday, in response to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, St. Louis and St. Louis County leaders reinstated mask requirements and were met with swift opposition.

Schmitt filed suit in St. Louis County Circuit Court to block the new mask orders.

The St. Louis County Council voted 5-2 on Tuesday to end the county's order. Council members rebuked Page for failing to consult them before issuing it, which they say was required under a new state law.

 

Page said Wednesday that the council had been appropriately notified and that the mask order didn't require council approval.

"I want to make it clear that a mask mandate remains in place in St. Louis County," Page said.

No court hearing had been set in response to Schmitt's lawsuit. Summonses were issued to defendants, but none had filed responses.

Despite the backlash, Page encouraged residents to wear masks in public and said he expects many people will do so, regardless of the council vote. The vast majority of residents, he said, just want to do what is safe.

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