The St. Louis County Council in Missouri has voted to end the county’s mask mandate, just a day after it took effect and prompted the state’s Republican attorney general to sue to try to stop it.
The council voted 5-2 Tuesday to reverse the order and to rebuke St. Louis County Executive Sam Page for not consulting the council before issuing it.
The mandate required everyone age 5 or older to wear masks in indoor public places and on public transportation in St. Louis city and St. Louis County, even if they are vaccinated. It was issued as Missouri has seen a surge in coronavirus hospitalizations that began in rural areas — where vaccination rates remain low — and spread to the state's urban areas.
Even as the St. Louis County Council voted to reverse that region's mask mandate, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced Tuesday evening that he would reinstate an indoor mask mandate.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson in June enacted a new law limiting the duration of local public health restrictions and barring governments from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination to use public facilities and transportation.
Although the law does not specifically mention masks, it allows the governing body of any city or county to terminate a public health order issued for the purpose of preventing the spread of a contagious disease. The governing body can do so at any time by a majority vote.