(The Center Square) – The 21st Judicial Circuit Court in St. Louis County is reviewing a petition from Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt seeking an injunction blocking indoor mask mandates imposed this week by Kansas City, St. Louis and St. Louis County.
In his motion, Schmitt says the orders are “an act of stunning defiance of state law” – newly-adopted House Bill 271, which gives local governing bodies the power to block public health orders – and motivated by politics rather than science.
“The Left & the blue check marks don’t understand this – the people are tired of being lied to by politicians hell bent on control & public health bureaucrats who’ve lost credibility by playing politics,” he tweeted late Wednesday. “The people have had enough & I’m fighting for them.”
Faced with rising COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page issued a joint executive order on July 23 reinstating indoor mask requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated residents 5 years old and older.
“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,” St. Louis City Health Director Dr. Fredrick Echols said.
After the city and county joined Los Angeles County as the first local governments in the nation to reinstate indoor mask requirements effective Monday, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas on Wednesday issued an order requiring indoor masks beginning Monday.
“As long as transmission continues, variants will continue to develop. We don’t know what the next variant will look like, how virulent it will be, and that should concern everyone,” Kansas City Health Department Deputy Director Frank Thompson said Wednesday.
Schmitt, among Republicans seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt in 2022, Monday evening filed a 37-page lawsuit challenging the St. Louis orders and said he will include Kansas City in the legal action as well as his motion for an injunction.
The St. Louis County Council Tuesday night voted 5-2 to end the indoor mask order under the provisions of HB 271 after a fiery two-hour hearing, but Page Wednesday insisted the council had no authority to do so and that the order is still in effect.
Treating individuals who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who have not the same under mask mandates is an “irresponsible” move, Gov. Mike Parson said in agreement with Schmitt’s assessment. Parson noted Thursday that he signed HB 271 into law to prevent the “overreach of power” by local officials.
Parson said the mandates, since they all apply to anyone regardless of vaccination status, could discourage the unvaccinated from getting inoculated.
“To try to treat vaccinated people the same as unvaccinated people and not recognize there is a difference, totally is irresponsible,” Parson said. “To us, to the leaders of this state and health care workers, we need to make sure people understand there’s a difference between the two and not treat them the same.”
On Thursday, all locations in the University of Missouri system instituted a mask mandate from Aug. 2 to Sept. 15. Also, the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla will require face coverings in certain indoor areas on campus beginning Aug. 2.
Originally Appeared Here