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New mask mandate in effect immediately in St. Louis County

The new mandate goes into effect immediately

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County's acting health director Dr. Faisal Khan has issued a new public health order on masks.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced the latest mask mandate at a press conference on Monday.

Page said the new health order was signed Monday morning and goes into effect immediately. He also said the County Council doesn’t plan to oppose the mandate.

When asked why he thinks this order will stand, as compared to the others that have been challenged, Page said this mandate follows the guidance of the legal team and the judge's orders.

"The judge has indicated to us that a new mask order is the best way to manage this question," Page said. "We believe issuing a new order is following the guidance of the court."

Watch Page's full briefing in the YouTube video below:

St. Louis County Councilman Tim Fitch shared his reaction to the mask mandate on Twitter.

Mayor of Eureka Sean Flower also shared his thoughts on his Facebook page.

The announcement of a new order comes as the legal battle over a mask mandate in the county continues. 

A mask mandate in St. Louis County went into effect on July 26. This was presented by Page and the health department. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit that same day in an effort to stop the mandate, and the St. Louis County Council voted to repeal it on July 27.

Despite the vote, Page claimed the mandate was still in effect, so, the battle went to the courts.

On Aug. 3, the St. Louis County circuit court granted a temporary restraining order, which halted the mask mandate placed by the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and Page. 

On Aug. 17, both sides went back to court. The next day, Circuit Judge Nellie Ribaudo granted a preliminary injunction that prevented St. Louis County health officials and the county executive from enforcing the mask mandate for the time being. 

Last Monday, that same judge kept in place a temporary injunction against enforcement of St. Louis County's mask mandate, after the administration of County Executive Sam Page argued it should be dissolved and a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt dismissed.

St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge Nellie Ribaudo decided that although the County Council last month voiced support for a mask mandate from Page dating to July 26, passing a resolution that purported to extend it, that mandate had already expired due to a new state law.

A hearing on whether to grant a permanent injunction against the mandate is set for Oct. 18.

The St. Louis Business Journal contributed to this report.

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