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Schmitt successfully blocks St. Louis County mask mandate

A St. Louis County judge granted Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s request for a temporary pause on the county’s mask mandate Tuesday, stalling the order until a hearing before the court later this month. 

The court blocked St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, St. Louis Health Department Director Faisal Kahn, and the county health department from enforcing the mandate until an Aug. 17 hearing on whether the county council’s vote to end the mandate can prevail. Judge Nellie Ribaudo found residents were caught between the order and the vote, leaving them without proper guidance on the matter. 

Schmitt said his office won the first battle over the mandate, though the conflict was far from over. 

“Today, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office delivered a huge win for the people of St. Louis County and obtained a temporary restraining order, halting the enforcement of the mask mandate,” Schmitt said. “This is an important, hard-fought victory, but our fight against unreasonable and unconstitutional government overreach continues.”

Similar mask mandates in the city of St. Louis and Kansas City remain in effect. The mandates require masks in all indoor public places for individuals who are at least 5 years old regardless of vaccination status. 

Schmitt filed the lawsuit last week challenging the constitutionality of the reinstated mandates. 

The 37-page lawsuit filed in the 21st Judicial Circuit Court in St. Louis County asked for the mandate to be declared “unconstitutional, unlawful, arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, and invalid” under state law. The lawsuit said HB 271, signed by Gov. Mike Parson in June, required a report showing the need for such an order, but one was not provided. 

A federal judge declined St. Louis County Executive Sam Page’s effort to have the case heard in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri Sunday, stating the question over the newly-enacted law was a matter for the state courts to decide.

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