Mask mandates lifted in St. Louis in alignment with CDC
The leadership of the city and county of St. Louis urged people to continue wearing masks if not vaccinated and to adhere to the rules established by the companies
ST. LOUIS – St. Louis and St. Louis County are taking a joint step to ease restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Tishaura Jones and County Executive Sam Page announced that they are relaxing mask mandates in line with the CDC’s announcement Thursday that fully vaccinated people may stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and most indoor spaces.
Cancellation of the mask mandate
“The message is if you’re vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask,” Mayor Jones said Friday, reiterating the CDC’s updated guidelines.
“If you haven’t been vaccinated, you should still wear a mask,” added Page.
The guidelines continue to require the wearing of masks in crowded indoor spaces such as buses, airplanes, hospitals, prisons and shelters for the homeless. However, they will help pave the way for jobs, schools, and other venues to reopen – and even eliminate the need for social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.
Those who have not been vaccinated must continue to wear masks around others to protect themselves from COVID-19.
Enforce CDC policies – or not
Those in charge said the shift means the St. Louis community must “rely more on personal accountability” and continue to wear masks when necessary, as outlined by the CDC.
“We don’t want this to be a moment where you show me your papers. We just have to trust what people tell us,” Mayor Jones said.
The local guides also stressed that not everyone will be comfortable removing their masks. They asked for patience and understanding for individuals and companies who choose to keep mask mandates.
“You have to respect the business owners, especially the restaurants who want to protect their employees and the companies who want to know whether or not they have been vaccinated,” said Page.
He stressed that employers have the right to ask you if you have been vaccinated.
“The EEOC was very clear about that,” said Page.
New health order
Acting director of the St. Louis Department of Health, Dr. Fredrick Echols, also announced the city is repealing Health Ordinances 1-17, including any safety initiatives the city put in place during the pandemic.
In its place, the city issued Health Ordinance No. 18, which states:
“Individuals, academic institutions, religious and places of worship, government offices, and corporations operating in the city of St. Louis should follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent the spread of SARS CoV-2 and SARS will continue to slow down communicable diseases and protect the health of our communities. “
St. Louis County also lifted its health code, which required masks and social distancing. The new Reopen STL order on the district’s website states:
Is the end in sight?
Jones, Page and Echols all reiterated that easing restrictions does not mean the pandemic is over.
“The city of St. Louis and St. Louis County are simply in one place where a new strategy can be implemented,” said Dr. Echols. “The pandemic is far from over.”
Page added that cases and trends are going in the right direction and that it is time for the region to take the next step.
“But it is time from the President, the CDC, and our public health experts to take this next step, which is to reinforce the message:” Get the vaccine and you will have the opportunity to take off your mask “And reaffirming the message companies have the right to continue to ask for masks if they want and that it is time to get vaccinated,” said Page.
Vaccination Rates in the St. Louis Area
One-third of St. Louis County’s residents are fully vaccinated. According to Missouri’s vaccine dashboard, the stats are a little lower in the city. Around a quarter of city residents are fully vaccinated.
- St. Louis: 26% fully vaccinated, 33.1% initiated vaccination
- St. Louis County: 33.2% fully vaccinated, 41.9% initiated vaccination
Mayor Jones will hold an individual press conference at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. The press release said she will be discussing “COVID-19 updates, the status of the city’s judicial center and workhouse, new members of its administration and other issues.”
“This is a big step forward. And we will continue to move forward,” said Page.
This is an evolving story that will continue to be updated. You can watch the full joint press conference in the video below.
The announcement comes less than a week after Jones and Page announced the easing of restaurant capacity restrictions and curfews. On May 3, they announced that restaurants could be at full capacity again after more than a year of coronavirus-related restrictions on capacity and operating hours.
RELATED: Curfew, restaurant capacity restrictions in the St. Louis area lifted, but mask mandate remains
The capacity limit has been lifted for companies in both the city and the district. However, all businesses still need to consider social distancing. For example, in restaurants, tables and parties must be separated by 6 feet. The business capacity is no longer limited by percentage, but is based on social distancing.
Major events, including those that will involve more than 500 people, have yet to submit safety plans before they are approved by the local health department.
The midnight corporate curfew has also been lifted.
RELATED: Why Some St. Louis Restaurant Owners Cannot or Will Not Operate at Full Capacity