The St. Louis County Council on Tuesday night voted to end the county’s new mask mandate, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Council members voted 5-2 to end the order and admonished County Executive Sam Page for failing to consult them before issuing it, the Post-Dispatch reported. The members said consultation with them was required by a new state law.
"Too many American men and women have given the last full measure of devotion for us to be cavalier with the very liberty they fought and died to provide," Councilman Ernie Trakas, R-6th District, said.
"I will not abide any measures that seek to compromise or erode our liberty and freedom."
The Post-Dispatch reported that Page dismissed the vote as meaningless.
"We as elected officials cannot stand by and let the delta variant rack up more and more victims each and every day,” he said. "Masks will help slow the spread of the virus while we continue to vaccinate as many people as we can."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday announced new recommendations that vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging. The CDC also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.
Later, former President Donald Trump issued a statement slamming the CDC’s updated guideline.
"We won’t go back," Trump said.
Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt has filed a suit challenging Page's order.
Disagreement about the order had quieted down in May, when COVID-19 cases reached relatively low numbers and nearly all restrictions on public life ended nationally.
State Republicans, in an attempt to limit Page, passed a law requiring health officials to consult with legislative bodies before taking any action. Those bodies also were given veto power over some orders.
With the highly infectious delta variant driving up hospitalizations in southwest Missouri during the last month, Page's order regained support.
Acting health director Faisal Khan addressed the council before its vote and said the order must be embraced or, "There will be more infection. There will be more death."
Rita Heard Days, D-1st District, asked Khan why the county found itself again in "a predicament."
"You asked us to stay home. You asked us to put on masks. You asked us to stay six feet apart," Days said, the Post-Dispatch reported. "Then those (restrictions) were relaxed.
"We have done everything you have asked us to do. And we have played by the rules. We have followed your orders. And yet we are still in a predicament. So, something is not working. … I want to know, what did we not do correctly?"
More than 40 people addressed the council Tuesday night, with nearly all of them opposing the mask mandate, the Post-Dispatch said.
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