To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, St. Louis County has updated its guidance for face coverings. This new health order focuses on children as they start the new school year.

Under the new rules, starting Monday, Aug. 24:

  • Everyone over the age of 5 must now wear masks in public places in St. Louis County. (This was age 9 under the previous guidance.)
  • Every student in kindergarten through grade 12 must wear a mask in both public and private schools.
  • Businesses must deny entry to anyone not wearing a mask. (Previously businesses were authorized but not required to deny entry.)

The goal of the health order is to ensure people protect themselves and others—especially those who are most likely to have complications from the virus, including seniors and people with pre-existing health conditions. North St. Louis County has seen higher rates of infection than other parts of the metro area, so it’s especially important to follow the order in the 24:1 Community to protect our fellow residents.

Scientific research has shown that COVID-19 is spread by people who are infected but don’t show symptoms. Wearing masks—including non-medical grade cloth coverings—is an effective way to stop the spread of the droplets that carry the virus.

Businesses and nonprofits must still display a reminder for customers to wear face coverings when they enter and while inside. Now they will also be responsible for enforcing this rule. The change comes after many complaints about businesses not requiring face coverings.

When outdoors in a public space, everyone over age 5 must wear a mask when they will be within 6 feet of people who don’t live in their household. Masks must also be worn when outdoors within a place of business.

Students in schools can take off their masks for recess (outdoors), while eating and drinking, and for gym, band, choir, and music classes. They can also remove them for school-sponsored sports as long as they are 6 feet apart.

For more information or to read the order from the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, visit St. Louis County’s coronavirus website.