ST. LOUIS – Wear a mask! That’s an upcoming order in St. Louis and St. Louis County, to fight the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
As of 7 a.m. Friday, everyone over age 9 must wear a face mask or covering at all times when in indoor facilities, and outside whenever social distancing is not possible. A few exceptions are made for “certain circumstances, and health conditions,” a joint statement from the city and county notes.
Public health experts say COVID-19 spreads mainly through aerosols and droplets among people who are within about six feet of each other. Wearing face masks or coverings has been proven to cut the risk of transmitting the virus. So if everyone wears a mask, that will help keep people healthy and allow businesses and the economy to stay open.
“People and businesses across the St. Louis Region have responded so well to the ongoing threat of COVID-19,” St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said. “Making face masks or coverings mandatory is an important step to ensure we do not go backwards as a region in the fight against this virus. This is an effective and proven way to slow the spread in our community, while allowing businesses to remain open and making sure people can enjoy their summers in a safe and responsible way.”
Sam Page, St. Louis County Executive, said: “Our goal today – as it has been all along – is to adopt science-based practices and follow the advice of our public health experts to slow the spread of the virus. We want businesses and restaurants to stay open. We want to continue to reopen and return to more normal activities, but we cannot do that unless everyone follows the same guidelines and proven practices to protect themselves and others from spreading COVID-19.”
The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force strongly supports the order.
“The evidence is clear that wearing a face mask or covering can decrease the transmission of COVID-19,” said Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force and chief medical officer at SSM Health. “Success in keeping the transmission rate as low as possible and ensuring our area hospitals can safely and effectively treat all patients, including COVID-19 patients, requires the community’s help to prevent spread of the virus. However, as the science has shown, we only realize the benefit of wearing masks or coverings if everyone participates. We need everyone. It’s that simple.”
As of Tuesday night, St. Louis had recorded 2,396 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with a case rate per 100,000 residents of 769.7. The death toll was at 156, for a rate per 100,000 residents of 50.1.