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Eigel: Mask mandates, shutdowns harm communities 

As parts of Missouri reinstate mask mandates in an effort to combat rising COVID-19 cases, Sen. Bill Eigel said the move could cause more economic damage for businesses and communities.  

“I think that creating a mask mandate as a way to coerce people into getting the vaccine and getting higher vaccination rates is not a good idea,” Eigel said. “We have to get to a place where we’re not tolerant of certain measures from the government in order to address the COVID pandemic and any kind of economic shutdown. … Quite frankly, they cause more destruction and damage to our communities, our business owners, and our livelihoods than anything that’s going to be caused by COVID.”

Eigel encouraged Missourians to make their own decisions on getting vaccinated and noted the economic link between St. Louis city and county, both of which have attempted to reinstate indoor mask mandates, and the surrounding area. 

Eigel appeared on Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” to cover the response to COVID-19, the controversy surrounding the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office, and future legislation. Eigel said he was willing to work across the aisle with St. Louis Sen. Karla May to find ways to address economic and social concerns that impact both of their districts. 

“I’ve been in her district to visit some of our areas, and we actually worked on some economic packages that are going to go into effect this year through this year’s state budget that are going to help some of the areas in Karla’s district,” he said. “It’s absolutely a conversation I’ve been able to have.”

St. Louis

State Reps. Tracy McCreery and Nick Schroer joined Ben Brown and Saint Louis Police Officers Association (SLPOA) Executive Director Jeff Roorda on this week’s panel to discuss rising crime rates as well as an increase in coronavirus cases. Schroer speculated that a legislative attempt to establish concurrent jurisdiction last year, which would have given the Attorney General’s Office the power to prosecute certain homicides in St. Louis after 90 days, would impact the crime rates today.

“We knew they were understaffed, we knew the turnover rate was so high that cases like this would happen,” Schroer said. “I think we all need to work together. [St. Louis Mayor] Tishaura Jones ran on the idea that crime is a regional issue. We’ve got people in St. Louis County, St. Charles County, and Franklin County wanting to step up and be a part of this coalition to fix the crime. Unfortunately, we don’t have the leadership in St. Louis that we should have.”

McCreery addressed the state’s vaccination rates, encouraging Missourians to get vaccinated to protect those around them.

“The vaccine does work if you’re trying to avoid hospitalization and death,” McCreery said. “This pandemic is still raging, but it’s a pandemic of the unvaccinated so I want to encourage people to take the vaccine. I think it’s the only way we’re going to be able to protect our neighbors and family members. … It’s part of our responsibility as a community to protect those who can’t get the vaccine.”

Watch the full episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” below, or listen to the podcast version here.