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Face masks would be required of employees, customers in St. Louis County when restrictions ease

County Executive Sam Page said the county is working on a requirement that will allow businesses to refuse anyone not wearing a mask

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County businesses are expected to receive guidelines later this week on what reopening will look like.

May 18 remains a target date to ease public health orders, County Executive Sam Page said Wednesday morning. He said he is working closely with St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.

“St. Louis County and city have targeted May 18 as the first day to begin to ease our public health orders,” Page said.

Many businesses will be able to reopen following social distancing guidelines. Page said more detailed guidelines specific to each industry will be released later this week.

"We must get our economy going again we understand that, but first priority will be to save lives to protect the health and welfare of our community and that's how we're going to drive this question moving forward and we have to move forward in a responsible manner," Page said.

Businesses will be required to follow social distancing measures that are similar to what they’re seeing across the state and across the country, which includes wearing a mask and keeping people 6 feet apart within their business.

Dr. Garza, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, agreed that a slow reopening can be done by maintaining social distancing, limit crowd sizes and with everyone wearing masks, Page said during his briefing.

Page said the county is working on a requirement that will allow businesses to refuse anyone not wearing a mask.

“I will be surprised if businesses whose employees are not wearing masks will get much traffic,” he said.

Page said the vast majority of people are respecting social distancing guidelines and trying to move forward in a safe manner.

Data including hospitalizations, ICU admissions and testing will be the main focus when it comes to making a decision on reopening.  

The importance of testing has been a topic that Page has stressed during each of his briefings since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The county is expected to learn more on its bid for testing supplies. The county put a bid in on Monday.

As of May 5, there are 3,569 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in St. Louis County. More than 1,300 people have been released from isolation and 189 people have died due to complications related to COVID-19.

Page has been holding briefings on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8:30 a.m. as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

5 On Your Side will livestream the briefings on the 5 On Your Side app and KSDK.com.

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