St. Louis City and St. Louis County have joined the state’s other major metro, Kansas City, in requiring masks in public to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Other cities are considering a similar rule as they watch virus cases increase in their areas.
“It’s a level of precaution that the scientists and the doctors really believe will help to continue to protect us, St, Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said in a press briefing Wednesday.
“We don’t want happening here what’s happening in other parts of our country where they have to pull back on their reopening,” Krewson said.
Governors in Texas, Florida and Arizona and others have had to pause reopening plans because of a surge in cases.
Gov. Mike Parson says he will not mandate face covering but will wear one on official visits when asked.
“Whether you wear a mask has nothing to do with whether you are Republican or Democrat, whether it’s he-man or not, all that spin that everybody wants to put on it,” Parson said at his Tuesday briefing. “You have to make a decision as individuals. You know the facts.”
The facts are that within six feet or in close quarters indoors, spittle and breath spread the virus.
That is why State DHSS Director Randall Williams is one of the doctors urging the wearing of facemasks.
“The more we learn, the more important we realize that (masks-wearing) is,” he told reporters at the Capitol. “If I’m around somebody and I’m within six feet, I put on a facemask.”
Williams warns that social distancing is just as important, and it’s not happening. He says a new CDC study released Tuesday shows that 50 percent of infected people do not know who gave it to them, especially because so many people do not show symptoms at first.
In Kansas City, Mayor Quinton Lucas says his order was not politically-driven, but it brought an unexpected personal repercussion, he says. Racist messages and threats directed at him have increased.
“We are talking about masks because we want to protect people. It has nothing to do with race, frankly, it has nothing to do with needing to be divisive or political. It’s really everything to do with let’s have a city that functions, a city that’s trying to keep people safe,” Lucas said.