Missouri AG Schmitt to file lawsuit Monday on St. Louis returning to mask mandate

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JEFFERSON, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Friday night that he will be filing a lawsuit Monday to stop the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County from bringing back a mask mandate.

“The citizens of St. Louis and St. Louis County are not subjects, they are free people,” Schmitt said in a tweet Friday night.

St. Louis City and County announced it will require masks to be worn in indoor public places and on public transportation beginning Monday. The new health order will require everyone age five and over, including those who are vaccinated, to wear a mask. Wearing masks outdoors, especially in group settings, will be strongly encouraged.

A statement from the St. Louis Mayor’s office says that there are some exceptions in the new health orders. They include people who are seated in a restaurant or bar eating and drinking and individuals with disabilities that prevent them from putting on or removing face coverings. 

The announcement about the upcoming health orders did not include specifics relating to social distancing, education, business regulations, or sports. More details are expected after the official orders are issued next week.

As the delta variant of COVID-19 makes its way through the Kansas City area, the region’s medical leaders appear to be on the verge of calling for new mask mandates. According to the Kansas City Star, Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at the University of Kansas Health System, says that region is seeing a big increase in patients and is “in trouble.”

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued a warning this week for counties along the Interstate 44 corridor. COVID-19 cases are surging in the southwest and central parts of the state due to the Delta variant, and the virus will likely move east toward St. Louis.

Greene County, Missouri, has become a national hotspot for COVID cases over the past three weeks, with the Delta variant driving the resurgence of the virus. The delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 spreads more easily and poses a higher risk of hospitalization.

Approximately 2.48 million people have completed the vaccination process in Missouri; 57.3% of all adults 18 years of age and older have initiated the process. The highest vaccination rates are among people over 65.

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