ST. LOUIS — People in the St. Louis area will soon be required to wear a face mask when in public.
Beginning on July 3 at 7 a.m., people in public will be required to wear a face mask, St. Louis leaders announced on Wednesday.
This comes as several other states and cities have implemented similar requirements.
St. Charles County announced it would not be mandating face masks, but still encourages residents to wear them.
Jefferson County, Franklin County and Lincoln County all said they will not be enforcing a face mask requirement. But leaders still encourage people to wear one.
Dr. Alex Garza, the head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said he is hopeful the new face mask requirement will help the region from moving backward in the reopening process.
Dr. Garza said everyone needs to do their part because studies have shown that the practice is most effective when everyone wears one.
Another important thing to keep in mind is making sure your mask is made out of a fabric that will provide adequate protection, Dr. Garza said. He cited a study from the University of Nebraska to identify which fabrics to use and how many layers of each are most effective.
"You can use simple materials at home to make a mask or as everybody knows, they're available out on the market as well," Dr. Garza said. "I would, though, say that I would refrain from buying surgical masks or an N-95 mask because we'd like to save those for the health care market."
St. Louis city requirements are expected to be similar to the county’s but have yet to be released.
When do you have to wear a face mask?
- Anyone over the age of 9, including employees and visitors, at any business or public accommodation – indoors and outdoors
- Anyone over the age of 9 when outside in a public space when anyone other than members of their household or living unit will be within 6 feet
- Anyone over of the age of 9 attending a gathering of individuals who are not members of their household in any area which will involve close contact or proximity to others when 6 feet of separation is not feasible. This restriction does not apply to gatherings of people at personal residences.
Examples of when you must wear a face mask
- Waiting to be seated at an indoor or outdoor restaurant, food establishment or bar, or whenever you leave your table (you do not need to wear it while eating or drinking at your table)
- Waiting in a line to enter a grocery store or any other retail facility
- Shopping at a store
- On public transportation (or waiting for it to arrive)
- Driving or riding in a taxi or rideshare vehicle (even by yourself)
- Seeking health care
- Going into any other facilities that allow members of the public to enter the facility, like laundromats, banks and government buildings
- In a common area inside a building, like an elevator, hallway, stairway, or parking lot
- Working at a job where you interact with others
- Going into someone else’s home for work, such as providing a service, cleaning, or maintenance
- Walking outside when you are unable to maintain a distance of 6 feet from others, such as on sidewalks or paths.
Examples of when you DON’T have to wear a face mask
- You are at home (unless you are living with someone with a higher risk from COVID-19 – you should wear one for their protection)
- Working alone in a private office or an enclosed space (as long as you put on a face covering quickly if someone enters)
- In your car alone or accompanied only by people you live with
- Sitting or standing outside alone or with people you live with and you are more than 6 feet from others
- Exercising outdoors alone or with people you live with (walking, hiking bicycling, or running) and no one else is within 6 feet
- You are at a pool while in the water
- You are engaged in a sports activity while playing
- You are engaged in an exercise activity at a gym, for the period of time when you are exerting yourself
- Consuming food or drink in a restaurant or bar while adequately distanced from others
- Consuming food or drink in any other public location while adequately distanced from others, such as a banquet center
Here’s who doesn’t have to wear a face mask
- Children under the age of 2
- Children between the ages of 3 to 9 are strongly encouraged to wear one, but not required while under the direct supervision of an adult
- People with health conditions that prohibit wearing a face covering
- People who have trouble breathing or are unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance
- People who are at a place consuming food or drink while adequately distanced from others
- People who are at a public pool while in the water
- People who are obtaining a service involve the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service
- People playing a sport, exercising or using exercise equipment while exerting themselves
Requirements for businesses
Businesses and other venues must post face coverings are required for entry and must continuously be worn while present in the business or venue
Businesses can deny entry to people who refuse to wear face coverings. A business shall neither require the individual to produce medical documentation verifying a medical condition or disability, nor ask about the nature of a medical condition or disability.
Enforcement of face masks
According to the order from St. Louis County, failure to comply with a public health order designed to “prevent the entrance of infectious, contagious, communicable or dangerous diseases” into St. Louis County is enforceable and punishable under Missouri law. In accordance with Section 5.030 of the St. Louis County Charter, the St. Louis County Counselor can seek emergency injunctive relief or other civil relief to enforce any provision of the order. Noncompliance with the order or the guidelines may also disqualify businesses from future financial benefits.
As far as the city, Krewson said they don't have "mask police," but thinks a lot of the enforcement will be done by the public. "And so I think that peer pressure will come to bear on this," Krewson said during a Facebook Live.
HOW TO MAKE A FACE COVERING
Face coverings can be made of a variety of fabrics. You can use bandanas, scarves, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. They should cover your nose and mouth. Face coverings should be washed frequently. Ideally, wash them after each use and have a dedicated laundry bag or bin.
A cotton handkerchief or tea towel
Two rubber bands or hair ties
Optional: a sewing needle and thread (or a sewing machine)
How to make a face mask
Place your fabric face down and fold the top and bottom edges to the center.
Flip the fabric over and fold the top and bottom edges towards the center once again.
Flip the fabric over again and weave the left and right ends of the fabric into the two rubber bands. Fold the left and right ends behind the fabric. You can sew the ends in place at this point if you have a thread and needle or a sewing machine.
Put the mask on by looping the rubber bands or hair ties around your ears. Make sure the mask covers your nose and mouth.