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Face masks will be required in public places in St. Louis area

The new requirement goes into effect on July 3 at 7 a.m.

ST. LOUIS — Face masks will soon be required indoors and outside when social distancing is not possible in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson made the announcement during a 2 p.m. press conference on Wednesday on Facebook Live. The requirement applies to everyone over the age of 9.

The new requirement goes into effect on July 3 at 7 a.m.

"You might as well start now folks," Krewson said during the briefing. 

There will be limited exceptions to the order for certain circumstances, and health conditions, according to a press release from the mayor’s office.

5 On Your Side's Casey Nolen first reported on the new requirement early on Wednesday

“Our goal today – as it has been all along – is to adopt science-based practices and follow the advice of our public health experts to slow the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Sam Page, St. Louis County Executive. 

Page said he wants businesses and restaurants to be able to stay open.

“We want businesses and restaurants to stay open. We want to continue to reopen and return to more normal activities, but we cannot do that unless everyone follows the same guidelines and proven practices to protect themselves and others from spreading COVID-19.” 

Several restaurants have closed again due to the pandemic since being allowed to reopen. 

RELATED: These St. Louis area restaurants are closed again due to COVID-19

“People and businesses across the St. Louis Region have responded so well to the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Making face masks or coverings mandatory is an important step to ensure we do not go backwards as a region in the fight against this virus,” said Lyda Krewson, Mayor of the City of St. Louis. “This is an effective and proven way to slow the spread in our community, while allowing businesses to remain open and making sure people can enjoy their summers in a safe and responsible way.” 

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force will hold a press briefing at 3:30 p.m.

5 On Your Side will livestream the briefing

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, which includes the St. Louis metropolitan area’s largest health care systems, working together to coordinate capacity, staffing, supplies and other issues to care for patients with COVID-19, strongly supported this mandate to help stop the spread and prevent infections. 

“The evidence is clear that wearing a face mask or covering can decrease the transmission of COVID-19,” said Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force.

“Success in keeping the transmission rate as low as possible and ensuring our area hospitals can safely and effectively treat all patients, including COVID-19 patients, requires the community’s help to prevent spread of the virus.  However, as the science has shown, we only realize the benefit of wearing masks or coverings if everyone participates. We need everyone. It’s that simple.” 

States and cities around the country have implemented similar laws as cases of the coronavirus are surging.

Face masks are now required in Nashville

Kansas City to make masks mandatory as virus cases rise

These states require face masks be worn in public