The indoor mask mandate will go into effect on Monday and requires all county and city residents, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks inside public locations and transportation, city and St. Louis County officials announced on Friday.
City and county officials lifted a previous mask order on May 13 in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
“We’ve lost more than 500 St. Louisans to COVID-19, and if our region doesn’t work together to protect one another, we could see spikes that overwhelm our hospital and public health systems,” said Fredrick Echols, acting director of health for the City of St. Louis, in a press release.
The new measure covers all residents ages 5 and older. Wearing masks outdoors is “strongly” encouraged by officials but is not a requirement, the readout added.
“The City and County health departments are taking this joint step to save lives, make sure hospitals can provide the care residents rely on, and protect our children so they can enjoy a full range of educational opportunities this year,” Echols added, touting COVID-19 vaccines as the “best method” to prevent serious infections.
More than 300 people are hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases in county medical facilities across the area, according to St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force data reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The announcement by St. Louis County officials comes as Los Angeles County reimposed an indoor mask mandate on July 17. Philadelphia officials announced an indoor mask recommendation on July 22, but it does not require residents to comply.