ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- St. Louis City and County leaders announced new health orders on Friday following the CDC's new mask guidance.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, St. Louis City Mayor Tishaura Jones and the city's acting health director made the announcement Friday morning. The new joint health orders, which rescind most COVID-19 restrictions, come after the CDC said fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors. Read more about the story here.
The city and county order aligns with the CDC's guidelines, allowing fully vaccinated people to go without a mask in most places. The order goes into effect immediately. Business can still require masks and health officials are encouraging people to adhere to the CDC guidance when to comes mask wearing and social distancing.
"I would hope that they would ask," said Jones when asked if businesses will be allowed to ask customers if they are vaccinated or not. "Because if you are fully vaccinated, you don't have to wear a mask, at least that is the CDC guidance. But we don't want this to turn into a 'show me your papers' moment. We'll just have to trust what people tell us."
The owner of Frida's and Diego's Cantina told News 4 she will allow servers to go maskless if they can prove they have been vaccinated. She is also easing the mask mandate on customers.
"We trust people that if they are not vaccinated, they will continue to wear their mask until they get to their table. But those people who have been vaccinated can come into the restaurant with no mask," said Natasha Kwan.
Kwan is still requiring masks and social distancing for those who are not vaccinated. Rather then question each customer, Kwan will continue social distancing for indoor seating.
Page said orders requiring mask wearing at senior care facilities and requiring those infected with COVID-19 to isolate will continue.
"Personal accountability has been really important since the beginning of the pandemic," said St. Louis City Health Director Dr. Frederick Echols, who said officials will be learning more on personal responsibility than mandates going forward.
“Although our local strategy has changed we must remain vigilant in following the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said Dr. Faisal Khan, Director of Health for Saint Louis County. “We are counting on residents, visitors, and the business community to take the lead in this effort.”
Dr. Alex Garza with the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force told News 4 it is very important for those who are not vaccinated to wear masks as around 97 percent of patients being admitted to local hospitals with COVID-19 are not vaccinated. Garza also said that local COVID-1 case numbers could rise again if unvaccinated people stop wearing masks.
Echols added that officials will work with businesses that host large events, such as the Cardinals and Blues, on how to increase capacity going forward. Capacity at Busch Stadium will increase to around 28,000 on May 21. Capacity at Enterprise has been increased to 5,000 for the start of the playoffs.
As of Thursday, 25.8% of the city's population is fully vaccinated and 32.9% of the county's population have completed their vaccination. At the press conference, officials urged those who have not been vaccinated to do so and urged parents to get their children between ages of 12 and 15 vaccinated.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who recently filed lawsuit against St. Louis County over its COVID-19 restrictions, released the following statement:
"Just 3 days after I filed suit, St. Louis County has lifted their restrictions. Citizens of St. Louis County will no longer be subjected to the one man COVID rule of County Executive Sam Page - this is a great victory for the people of St. Louis County. I will continue to fight to ensure that Missourians' rights and freedoms are protected."