KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of St. Louis city and county residents after local leaders announced that mask mandates would be reinstated.
"The citizens of St. Louis and St. Louis County are not subjects — they are free people," Schmitt tweeted Friday night. "As their attorney general, I’ll be filing suit Monday to stop this insanity."
St. Louis city and county leaders said Friday afternoon that residents will be required to wear masks in all indoor public places and public transportation starting Monday, July 26.
The St. Louis area is one of several Missouri areas battling a surge of COVID-19 cases driven by the highly contagious delta variant of the virus.
Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the health departments of St. Louis City and St. Louis County have combined to report more than 129,000 COVID-19 cases. Nearly 2,830 residents have died from the virus.
“The city and county health departments are taking this joint step to save lives, make sure hospitals can provide the care residents rely on, and protect our children so they can enjoy a full range of educational opportunities this year,” Fredrick Echols, city of St. Louis acting health director, said Friday in a news release. “Wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance when possible, and most importantly, get vaccinated. Vaccines remain one of the best methods to prevent severe complications and death from the virus.”
The mask requirement calls on anyone 5 years old and older – including those who are vaccinated – to wear a mask indoors.
The new guidance recommends residents wear masks outdoors, especially in group settings, but does not require it.
More information is available on the St. Louis Health Department’s website.