County votes 4-3 in favor of mask mandate


Photo by Erin Achenbach

Both County Executive Sam Page and 6th District County Councilman Ernie Trakas don masks at the official ribbon-cutting at 9 Mile Garden in Affton July 9, 2020.

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

This is a developing story. Continue to check for updates. 

The St. Louis County Council voted along party lines Tuesday in favor of enacting a countywide mask mandate.

By a vote of 4-3, the council voted to establish the mandate Jan. 4 in its first meeting of 2022. Council chairwoman Rita Days of the 1st District, Vice Chairwoman Shalonda Webb of the 4th District, 5th District Councilwoman Lisa Clancy and 2nd District Councilwoman Kelli Dunaway voted in favor; all four are Democrats. Republicans Tim Fitch of the 3rd District, 6th District Councilman Ernie Trakas and 7th District Councilman Mark Harder voted against.

The order went into effect Wednesday and applies to people age 5 and older in indoor public buildings and on public transportation. The same day, Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit against the county, alleging that the mandate was unlawful.

“Yet again, County Executive Page is attempting to impose his will on the citizens of St. Louis County through the forced masking of adults and even children. Citizens of St. Louis County should have the freedom to choose what is best for them and their families — the government has no authority to force them to wear a mask or get vaccinated,” Schmitt stated in a press release. “My Office has fought Sam Page’s illegal mask mandates from the beginning, and we’re not going to give up now. This is a fight worth fighting.”

Clancy introduced the order establishing the mandate, citing the recent increase in COVID-19 cases as her reasoning.

“Requiring masks in public places is a small act that will help decrease transmission right away. Our hospitals are overwhelmed … we need quick action, we can’t wait,” Clancy said, reading a letter submitted to the county from regional medical professionals. “That’s the opportunity we have tonight.”