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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

St. Louis County Judge Blocks Mask Mandate, For Now

Posted By on Tue, Aug 3, 2021 at 3:28 PM

click to enlarge A mask mandate remains in place for St. Louis city, but a judge ruled today in favor of Attorney General Eric Schmitt for a temporary end to the mandate in St. Louis county. - VIA FLICKR/YOUNG SHANAHAN
  • VIA FLICKR/YOUNG SHANAHAN
  • A mask mandate remains in place for St. Louis city, but a judge ruled today in favor of Attorney General Eric Schmitt for a temporary end to the mandate in St. Louis county.

The mask mandate in St. Louis County has met a temporary end.

A St. Louis County judge issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the county from enforcing a mandate issued a week ago. The order will last until August 17, which is the next court hearing on the matter. The judge ruled in favor of Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who'd sued the county over the renewed requirement to wear face coverings inside.



The County Council voted 5-2 last week to rescind the public health order, but Page insisted the council lacked the authority to override the mandate. Judge Ellen Ribaudo sided with Schmitt in issuing the temporary restraining order.

“Today, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office delivered a huge win for the people of St. Louis County and obtained a temporary restraining order, halting the enforcement of the mask mandate,” Schmitt said in a press release. “This is an important, hard-fought victory, but our fight against unreasonable and unconstitutional government overreach continues.”

The ruling read the court's decision isn't commenting on the wisdom of the council to terminate the mandate, but rather if the council had the authority to terminate the health order. The decision also said the court wanted to clarify for county residents what they should be doing in regard to mask wearing.

“Although some will take this court's ruling as a victory, there is no victory while the COVID-19 virus remains a significant threat to public health and there is no question it remains a significant threat to public health,” the ruling reads. “There can be no victory until the residents of St. Louis County and the State of Missouri are no longer risking their health, well being and lives at the hands of COVID-19 virus.”

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page acknowledged the decision on Twitter, but asked people to continue to wear a mask regardless of the ruling.

The full order can be read here. The next hearing over the mandate is set for August 17 at 9:30 a.m.

Follow Jenna on Twitter at @writesjenna. Email the author at jenna@riverfronttimes.com
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