Judge halts St. Louis evictions through end of August

Judge halts St. Louis evictions through end of August

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A judge has ordered a halt to evictions in St. Louis through the end of August, but a civil rights advocacy group says the moratorium should be extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Circuit Court Presiding Judge Rex Burlison issued the order Thursday. It does not apply to commercial property or properties where illegal drug activity occurred.

Vernon Betts
St. Louis Sheriff Vernon Betts stopped serving eviction notices Tuesday after meeting with housing advocates.

ArchCity Defenders, a St. Louis-based non-profit civil rights law firm, called the moratorium a “good first step” but urged a 120-day moratorium on evictions.

“Evictions jeopardize the safety and stability of vulnerable families, inflict trauma, and are incredibly difficult to recover from,” ArchCity Defenders said in a statement.

A previous moratorium on evictions in St. Louis began in March and continued through early July.

NEARLY 1,000 NEW CASES

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 996 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 57,379. The state also reported 21 new deaths. Missouri has seen 1,301 people die from COVID-19.

The number of infections is believed to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and experts believe people can have the virus without feeling sick.

MASK LAWSUIT

A lawyer from southwestern Missouri who sued Springfield over its ordinance requiring face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19 is now suing Branson, too.

Kristi Fulnecky’s latest lawsuit was announced Thursday. She is representing two businesses in Branson, the popular tourist town known for its live shows. Branson’s Board of Aldermen approved the mask ordinance on July 28.

Branson City Attorney Chris Lebeck, in a statement, accused Fulnecky of “grandstanding.”

Fulnecky filed suit on July 23 against Springfield, Mayor Ken McClure and several members of the City Council over its ordinance. Springfield is Missouri’s third-largest city and Fulnecky is a former councilwoman who is running for mayor.

She also filed suit last month against the city’s public school district for its decision to not offer in-person classes five days a week when the school year begins. The district’s plan offers families the option to sign up for full-time online learning or two days of classroom time each week coupled with three days of online learning.

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