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Kansas City announces mask mandate as St. Louis County Council rescinds its order

The mask mandate in Kansas City, Mo., is back, Mayor Quinton Lucas announced on Tuesday.

The mandate will require masks in public indoor spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained,. It goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 2, and lasts until at least 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28. Kansas City lifted its previous mask mandate in May. The order applies to those over the age of 5, regardless of vaccination status, with a few exemptions.

Meanwhile across the state, the reinstatement of a mask mandate in St. Louis County didn’t last long.

The county council voted 5-2 to terminate the county’s indoor mask mandate following a contentious debate at its meeting on Tuesday night, according to NPR radio station KWMU. The issue is now expected to be decided in court as both sides are claiming they have jurisdiction over the move. County Executive Sam Page said that until a court rules, he believes the mandate remains in place.

“We do have a mask mandate that is in effect in St. Louis County,” he said. “It’s before a judge, the attorney general has filed a lawsuit and I hope that moves quickly to resolve this.”

Council members and some other officials disagreed.

“If Sam Page wants health mandates, this council stands ready to hear his arguments and act on his requests,” Councilman Tim Fitch said. “This is the legal and proper way to do this.”

The council vote to end the order came just one day after it began. The mandate, announced in tandem with the city of St. Louis, requires all people over age 5 to wear a mask in indoor public places regardless of their vaccination status.

The orders come as death rates from Covid remain at their lowest since the beginning of the pandemic – a full 16 months ago. In addition, a study contradicts CDC findings on the efficacy of a mask mandate.

Page’s critics cited a new Missouri law that restricts local leaders from issuing public health orders for businesses, churches and schools State Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, dismissed the idea that a mask mandate wouldn’t fall under the purview of the new law he backed. He pointed to language stating that restrictions “on the opening of or access” of businesses could be nixed by the council.

“I think clearly a mask mandate as a condition of keeping your business open would be a restriction and would clearly be covered here,” he said. “And the question is whether the council supports Sam Page or the council the right of business owners to make their own decisions about masks.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice