St. Louis County has amended its face covering order to require masks to be worn in public or private educational institutions in grades Kindergarten through 12th grade and strengthened language for wearing face masks in businesses. The changes went into effect Monday, August 24.
For K-12 students, students can remove their masks during recess or in physical education class, as long as students are at least 6 feet apart; when participating in band, choir, or music class, as long as students are at least 6 feet apart; while consuming food or drink, as long as students are at least 6 feet apart; and while participating in a school sponsored sport, in accordance to the Department of Public Health’s Youth Sport Guidelines (which have not changed).
The order lowers the age that children must wear masks in public accommodations, from ages 9 and older down to ages 5 and older, reflecting the new requirement in schools. In St. Louis County, if a 5-year-old is attending kindergarten, the child must wear a face covering.
The amended mask order affects businesses as well. The order specifically states that businesses "must" deny entry to customers who refuse to wear a face covering. The order modifies the language from “authorizing" to "must deny" entry, and it empowers the businesses to enforce the requirement.
When talking about flattening the curb of new coronavirus cases with reporters earlier this week, County Executive Dr. Sam Page said, “We really need universal mask wearing; it’s the most important thing that we can do, moving forward.”
The St. Louis County Department of Public Health has received many complaints that some businesses are not requiring face coverings. The county’s Face Covering Guidelines provide alternatives to businesses who provide goods or services to those unable to wear face coverings due to a medical condition or those who refuse to wear a face covering for other reasons. A business can provide curbside/delivery to the customer and a business may allow entry if the person is willing to wear a face shield instead of a face covering.
The amended order is posted online at stlcorona.com.