ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — All children in kindergarten through 12th grade must wear face coverings when they return to school. The order applies to private and public schools and takes effect on Aug. 24.
There are some exceptions to the order. If they are 6-feet apart, children do not have to wear face coverings during recess or in physical education classes; while participating in band, choir or music class; while eating or drinking; and while participating in a school-sponsored sport.
The mask order also applies to settings outside of school. Children over the age of 5 years old must wear masks in public settings.
In addition, the order states that businesses must deny entry to customers who refuse to wear a face covering.
"Modifying the language from 'authorizing' to 'must deny' empowers the businesses to enforce the requirement," according to a release from the county health department.
The order states: "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. An alternative means to provide the product or service for those who refuse to wear a face covering or are medically unable to do so should be offered, if possible. These alternatives include delivery or curbside pickup."
Some local business owners think the order is long overdue.
"We felt kind of relieved. That’s one less thing we have to worry about and we can concentrate on keeping ourselves, our staff and customers safe. There is a no shoes, no shirt, no service ordeal, I mean I don’t think this is anything different," Qui Tran, owner of restaurants Nudo House and Mai Lee, said.
"I think bottom line what it is doing is saving lives," Cathy Jenkins, owner of Cathy's Kitchen, said.
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The St. Louis County Department of Health will provide a "Masks Required" sign to businesses upon request. Businesses can send their inquiries to email@example.com
Children under the age of 2 are not required to wear face coverings. Children 3-5 years old are "strongly encouraged" to wear a face covering while under the direct supervision of an adult.
The mask requirement does not apply to students with disabilities, mental health conditions or sensory concerns who are receiving special educational accommodations where adaptations and alternatives to face coverings can be implemented or are impractical, the order states.
To read the full public health order, click here.