St. Louis County and St. Louis City have issued new public health orders requiring all individuals to wear a face mask or covering at all times when in indoor facilities and outside when social distancing is not possible. The requirement applies to everyone over the age of nine (9). There will be limited exceptions to the order for certain circumstances, and health conditions. The orders take effect in the City and County at 0700, July 3rd, 2020.
According to the CDC, public health and officials with the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, COVID-19 spreads mainly through aerosols and droplets among people who are in close contact with one another (about 6 feet). The use of face masks or coverings is a scientifically proven, safe and simple way to decrease the risk of transmitting Corona virus, particularly in settings where people are close to each other or where social distancing is difficult to maintain. Using this simple tool to slow the spread of the virus in St. Louis will help allow businesses and the economy to stay open while protecting the population.
“Our goal today – as it has been all along – is to adopt science-based practices and follow the advice of our public health experts to slow the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Sam Page, St. Louis County Executive. “We want businesses and restaurants to stay open. We want to continue to reopen and return to more normal activities, but we cannot do that unless everyone follows the same guidelines and proven practices to protect themselves and others from spreading COVID-19.”
“People and businesses across the St. Louis Region have responded so well to the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Making face masks or coverings mandatory is an important step to ensure we do not go backwards as a region in the fight against this virus,” said Lyda Krewson, Mayor of the City of St. Louis. “This is an effective and proven way to slow the spread in our community, while allowing businesses to remain open and making sure people can enjoy their summers in a safe and responsible way.”
The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, which includes the St. Louis metropolitan area’s largest health care systems, working together to coordinate capacity, staffing, supplies and other issues to care for patients with COVID-19, strongly supported this mandate to help stop the spread and prevent infections.
“The evidence is clear that wearing a face mask or covering can decrease the transmission of COVID-19,” said Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force and chief medical officer at SSM Health. “Success in keeping the transmission rate as low as possible and ensuring our area hospitals can safely and effectively treat all patients, including COVID-19 patients, requires the community’s help to prevent spread of the virus. However, as the science has shown, we only realize the benefit of wearing masks or coverings if everyone participates. We need everyone. It’s that simple.”