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Local municipalities push back on mask mandates

“It’s just not workable or practical,” said Wildwood Mayor Jim Bowlin

WILDWOOD, Mo. — There's some growing resistance to new mask mandates set to take effect Monday in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Masks will once again be required in indoor public places and on public transportation for everyone over the age of 5 and even for those who are fully vaccinated.

St. Louis City Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page are expected to speak publicly Monday morning for the first time since announcing the new mandates on Friday.

Missouri law allows local governments the right to block a public health order by majority vote, but Eureka and Wildwood plan on ignoring the mandate all together even as cases of COVID-19 continue to climb.

Eureka's mayor said the policy is wrong.

"I think you're going to see more and more people, they're not dismissing the seriousness of everything. They're saying these policies are wrong, these processes are wrong and there needs to be more push back on it and people need to be able to express that publicly," said Mayor Sean Flower.

Wildwood Mayor Jim Bowlin said mask mandates aren't "workable or practical."

Starting Monday, Bowlin will allow Wildwood businesses to expand sidewalk seating to accommodate more customers.

"If our residents want to patronize those businesses and not be forced to wear a mask inside the building, they can do that on the sidewalk," he said.

That’s not to say the city of Wildwood isn’t taking COVID-19 seriously, but Bowlin believes it’s up to each person to do what’s best.

“I have faith in every single (Wildwood resident) to do the right thing,” said Bowlin. “If you’re in a situation where you feel the need to wear a mask, and get vaccinated, those are decisions I’m confident that the residents of Wildwood can make without being mandated to do so."

Chesterfield's mayor says no law enforcement agency can enforce a county health department order.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said he plans to file a lawsuit on Monday to stop the mask mandates from taking effect in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

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