After local officials in St. Louis County, Missouri attempted to reimpose a mask mandate on all residents, a Circuit Judge has issued an order temporarily blocking the restrictions, Fox News reports.
The ruling came after the St. Louis County Department of Public Health first ordered the return of mandatory masking on July 26th. But the next day, the St. Louis City Council voted to overrule the order. Although Judge Ellen Ribaudo ruled that “there is a likelihood of success on the merits” of the claim that the city council does not have the authority to overturn the department’s order, she ultimately imposed a two-week restraining order, starting on Tuesday, that prevents the mask mandate from taking immediate effect.
During that period, “residents who support the face covering measure, and those who oppose the measure, are left to their own devices in deciding whether or not to wear a mask in public places,” Judge Ribaudo explained. The two-week restraining order will expire on August 17th, when a hearing will ultimately determine which side has more authority to control the mask mandate.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), who is currently running for the United States Senate, touted the ruling as “an important, hard-fought victory,” but noted that the “fight against unreasonable and unconstitutional governmental overreach continues.” Schmitt also announced Tuesday that his office would be filing a lawsuit against the city of Kansas City, which imposed its own mask mandate, declaring it to be “unreasonable, unconstitutional, arbitrary, and capricious.”
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, who supported the mask mandate, said that “we are disappointed in the judge’s decision as more and more mask requirements are put in place across the country to help slow this deadly virus.” Page pointed to the recent reversal by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which now “recommends wearing masks in public places,” saying that “we should follow that guidance as we continue our vaccine efforts.”
The CDC has been widely criticized for what many have called a flip-flop, declaring recently that even those who have been fully vaccinated should go back to wearing masks, while also ordering all children in K-12 schools to wear masks at all time during school hours. Part of their recommendations were confirmed to come from an Indian study that failed peer review and claimed that the new India Variant, also known as the “Delta” Variant, is capable of infecting even those who have been vaccinated.