The St. Louis County Council on Tuesday voted to overturn a mask mandate one day after it was put in place.
The mask mandate required those age five and older to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces and on public transportation. It was announced by St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page and St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones on Monday.
The council voted 5-2 to repeal the mandate.
The vote came after a St. Louis County Council meeting that took place on Tuesday evening, where many members of the public discussed the decision, most of whom criticized the mask mandate.
“Too many American men and women have given the last full measure of devotion for us to be cavalier with the very liberty they fought and died to provide,” said Councilman Ernie Trakas, who voted against the mandate, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. “I will not abide any measures that seek to compromise or erode our liberty and freedom.”
The County Executive Director says otherwise: Less than 24 hours after the vote, Page insisted that the mask mandate remains in place.
“Let’s make it clear that the mask mandate remains in place,” Page said at a Wednesday briefing. “There is currently a lawsuit challenging that mandate. Until that’s resolved, masks will be required in all indoor public spaces.”
“As health care professionals and as elected leaders we can’t stand idly by and let this Delta variant rack up more and more victims with each passing day,” he added.
“For those who are vaccinated this may feel like punishment, punishment for doing the right thing,” he noted. “I’ve heard that and I feel that frustration. While the vaccination can protect against serious illness, it can’t protect you from being infected with COVID-19 and passing it onto someone else, someone who may be more vulnerable.”
Worth noting: Some council members said that Page and Jones are required under law to consult with the county council before enacting the mask mandate.
“If Sam Page wants health mandates, this council stands ready to hear his arguments and act on his requests,” said Councilman Tim Fitch.
Meanwhile, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit against St. Louis County and City seeking to prevent the mask mandate.
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