ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) – A St. Louis County judge has barred the enforcement of County Executive Dr. Sam Page’s mask mandate.
Page mandated that everyone would need to wear a mask in an indoor public setting, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated, starting on July 26. Only one day after it went into effect, the St. Louis County Council voted 5-2 to overturn it.
Several members of the St. Louis County Council have spoken out against the mandate saying it violates a recently passed state law that requires input from a governing body such as a county council. Many residents were left confused on what the proper course of action to take.
Two weeks ago, Circuit Judge Ellen “Nellie” Ribaudo issued a temporary restraining order on the mandate. At the time, she based the decision to issue the temporary restraining order on conflicting rulings by the St. Louis County government.
“I want to make it clear that any decision this court would make is not specific to those issues,” Ribaudo said earlier. “This is a legal decision that this court would be entertaining, not a political issue.”
The temporary restraining order was supposed to last through August 17. During a hearing that day, Judge Ribaudo extended the temporary restraining order for two more days. She ordered the county and state to work together to come to a comprise. When the parties told the judge Wednesday, they could not reach an agreement, she gave them one more day, but when they were still not in agreement on Thursday she issued an order.
In the order, Judge Ribaudo sided with the St. Louis County Council by stating a mask mandate could not be enforced.
“The people prevailed yet again against County Executive Page and his health department for attempting to impose their will illegally on the people of St. Louis County,” said Attorney General Schmitt after the order was released. “Today, the Court issued a preliminary injunction preventing the County from enforcing their mask mandate. I will not stop in my fight against government overreach.”
Page tweeted his reaction to the judge's order: "Today the court ruled that enforcement of the mask order is suspended while the court considers the full case. Public health experts tell us masks save lives. I am confident the people of @STLCounty will continue wearing masks to protect themselves & their community from COVID-19."