The mandate takes effect Monday. Anyone ages 5 and up will be required to wear masks in public places when they can’t be more than six feet apart
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. — The Jefferson County Health Department Board of Trustees voted to approve a mask mandate in the county in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The health board voted three to two in favor of this mandate tonight at the end of a meeting that lasted more than five hours and got heated at times. The meeting was streamed on Facebook Thursday night.
The mandate takes effect Monday. Anyone ages 5 and up will be required to wear masks in public places when they can’t be more than six feet apart. The mandate will remain in effect through the board’s next meeting Sept. 25, when they could extend it or end it, depending on what the numbers show.
Medical experts, including those with the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force say wearing a mask is crucial to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Those opposed say it should be a personal choice to wear a mask.
Previous board meetings on the topic lasted several hours with no vote taken.
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Ultimately, the majority of the board came to the conclusion on Thursday that weeks of issuing only recommendations wasn’t helping slow the spread of the virus. Cases are still doing the health director says it’s now at the point where contact tracers can’t keep up with the new cases coming in.
On Wednesday, the county health department posted on Facebook saying as much.
In that post, the department asked anyone who tested positive or was exposed to someone who tested positive to self-isolate until receiving a call from the health department.
“This means staying home,” the department said in a Facebook post. “Do not go to work, school, church, the gym or the grocery store.”
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The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reported 2,486 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County Thursday, an increase of 69 from the number reported by the state health department Tuesday.
The county says 40 people have died from COVID-19. There were no new deaths Thursday.