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Missouri attorney general sues St. Louis County over COVID health orders

The suit takes issue with restrictions on religious institutions, mask requirements for K-12 grades, government pre-approval for events and outdoor mask requirements

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has filed a lawsuit against St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, Dr. Faisal Khan and the St. Louis County Department of Public Health.

Schmitt said he filed the lawsuit over the “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable application of COVID-19 restrictions in St. Louis County.” The suit specifically takes issue with restrictions on religious institutions, masking requirements for K-12 grades, government pre-approval for events and outdoor mask requirements.

Schmitt’s office previously sent a letter to Page seeking more information on research and data that was driving the county’s shut-down orders. Schmitt’s office said the county’s response letter failed to address a “multitude” of issues raised in Schmitt’s letter.

Within a week of sending their response, Page announced the “Reopen STL” order, which removed certain objectionable restrictions that Schmitt’s office raised in the letter. But, Schmitt’s lawsuit states the new order continues to “impose significant restrictions on personal and religious freedoms.”

“Three weeks ago, I sent a letter to St. Louis County asking for an explanation and evidence justifying the County’s extreme restrictions on St. Louis County residents. The County’s response was vague and unresponsive. Just several days later, the County rushed to amend their shut-down order in an apparent attempt to appease this Office and avoid litigation. It has not,” Attorney General Schmitt said in a news release. “From requiring a mask outdoors to subjecting citizens to government pre-approval for private events, enough is enough. The seemingly unending control over people’s lives must end. Vaccines are widely available to all adults – it’s past time for St. Louis County to lift these restrictions, and that’s why I filed suit today.”

5 On Your Side contact St. Louis County for a response. Chief communications officer Doug Moore emailed the following statement:

"We all know Mr. Schmitt is trying to increase his profile statewide and suing those protecting the health and safety of residents is apparently one of the ways he has chosen to do that. Our focus is on getting people vaccinated and on economic recovery.

"Litigation around public health orders across the country is nothing new and St. Louis County has been successful in defending every legal challenge around public health orders. Our legal foundation is sound."

The suit brings eight counts against St. Louis County. To read the full lawsuit, click here and you can also view it in the document below.