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St. Louis County libraries offering free reusable face masks

You don't even need a library card to pick one up

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Just days after St. Louis County joined the City of St. Louis to require face masks in public places, St. Louis County Library branches added free face masks to its catalog of items available for the public during regular business hours at all locations.

“I think especially with the order being mandated, there were many people who were choosing not to wear a mask before that now need to pick them up,” said Eric Button with the St. Louis County Library. “We are trying to keep everyone safe including our staff and our patrons, so this is just another way we can help people stay safe and hopefully get through this thing sooner rather than later.”

It’s a partnership with St. Louis County Department of Public Health, which distributed more than 150,000 masks the week before the requirement went into effect.

“They must be worn to protect us all,” stressed Dr. Sam Page, St. Louis County Executive in his Monday morning briefing. “About anyone can be a symptomatic, especially our young people can be a carrier of this virus and not have any symptoms.”

The mask mandate went into effect Friday, July 3.

RELATED: When do I need to wear a face mask in St. Louis?

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 

For more on mask requirements where you live, click here.

The city and county mandates underscore mask policies already in place at many area shops, restaurants, and attractions—like the Aquarium at Union Station.

“All of our guests have been unbelievable, it’s been really great experience since reopening, they’ve been completely understanding,” said Erin Clark with the Aquarium, where temperature checks and social distancing are required along with face masks. “It’s nice to welcome them back here.”

RELATED: 'It's a small ask' | St. Louis task force incident commander stresses importance of masks during pandemic fight