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St. Louis County prosecutor will not 'tolerate irresponsible behavior' related to COVID-19

The county's new public health orders take effect Tuesday

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — As St. Louis County residents and businesses prepare to live with new restrictions Tuesday and the number of cases continues to rise, the county's top prosecutor said his office is prepared to look into violations.

"While we place a higher priority on many more destructive crimes than violations of these reasonable public health orders, we will not tolerate irresponsible behavior that puts our seniors, those with underlying health issues, or any of our residents in harm's way," St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell said in a statement Monday.

Starting Tuesday at 12:01 a.m., three new public health orders will go into effect, including a "safer at home" order; a change in the age of those required to wear face masks; and changes to isolation and quarantine protocol.

"As always, we will deal with any credible allegations of wrongdoing on a case-by-case basis, and, as always, we would rather prevent crime than prosecute it, Bell's statement said. "To that end, we implore all residents to be safe, wear a mask, socialize outdoors in small groups at a social distance, stay home when possible, and observe these reasonable, well-intentioned public health orders. 

We will get through this public health crisis together, but by making these sacrifices we can get through this faster, avoid much suffering and save many lives." 

Monday, the county reported more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 -- a single-day record.

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