The St. Louis area will require masks -- regardless of vaccination status -- in public places indoors and on public transit as COVID-19 hospitalizations rise.
The state has been battling the U.S.’s worst renewed outbreak per capita, driven by the delta variant, with case levels now as high as in late January.
The new mandate begins Monday and will apply to people five and older. Exceptions will be made for those seated in restaurants and bars. Face coverings also “will be strongly encouraged” outdoors.
“We’ve lost more than 500 St. Louisans to COVID-19, and if our region doesn’t work together to protect one another, we could see spikes that overwhelm our hospital and public health systems,” Fredrick Echols, the city’s acting director of health, said in a statement.
Cities around the nation have been grappling with whether to reimpose mask mandates. Los Angeles has required them, while San Francisco and Las Vegas have issued recommendations.
Officials in New York City, where delta is also causing an increase in infections, say they do not yet see the need.
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