KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As St. Louis leaders reinstated a mask mandate Monday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said such measures "undermine" the integrity of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Virus cases are on the rise in Missouri, which at 40.8% has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the United States.
The increase is attributed by many officials to the faster-spreading delta variant of COVID-19.
Combined circumstances led St. Louis officials to resinstate a mask mandate starting Monday.
Parson said the action sends mixed messages to the public.
"Dictating mask mandates when we have the vaccine is ignoring the real solution and eroding public trust," Parson wrote in a Tweet.
He said mask mandates that are implemented regardless of vaccination status remove some motivation for those who aren't vaccinated to be so.
"These policies that don't consider vaccination status reduce the incentive of getting the vaccine and undermine its integrity. The vaccine is how we rid ourselves of COVID-19, not mask mandates that ignore common sense," Parson wrote.
Dictating mask mandates when we have the vaccine is ignoring the real solution and eroding public trust.— Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) July 26, 2021
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said Friday he planned to file a lawsuit on behalf of St. Louis city and county residents "to stop this insanity."
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said leaders' "top priority is protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of the people."
She also called Schmitt's lawsuit "frivolous" and self-serving toward his own political ambitions.