St. Louis County Council Committee of the Whole met on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, to discuss the efficacy of masks in limiting the spread of the coronavirus (screengrab)
CLAYTON — The St. Louis County Council appears poised to reverse course and adopt a countywide mask mandate after five weeks of debate and several votes against such an order.
The council will hold a special meeting at 3 p.m. Friday, during which the only agenda item is “discussion and consideration” of the mask order issued by the county health department on July 26.
The special meeting, scheduled Thursday afternoon by Council Chair Rita Heard Days, D-1st District, comes after a council majority — including Days, Shalonda Webb, D-4th District, Tim Fitch, R-3rd District, Mark Harder, R-7th District, and Ernie Trakas, R-6th District — blocked earlier attempts to adopt a mask mandate.
Days and Webb — who have worn masks at council meetings — could join Democrats Lisa Clancy, 5th District, and Kelli Dunaway, 2nd District, to form a new majority upholding the county’s emergency order.
Council approval would meet a requirement under a new state law that gives local legislative bodies power over emergency health orders.
Days and Webb did not respond to requests for comment about the special meeting.
On July 27, the council, asserting its authority under the state law, voted 5-2 to rescind the public health order issued by Dr. Faisal Khan, acting director of the Department of Public Health. Several council members at the time complained that County Executive Sam Page’s administration had failed to consult with them before the order was issued. Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued in court to block the order; after the council’s vote to rescind the order, Schmitt asked a judge for a restraining order to stop the county from enforcing masks. A St. Louis County circuit judge last week enjoined the county from enforcing the order.
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