UPDATE: Tonight the St. Louis County Council voted to override the County Executive’s Mask Mandate. God Bless our leaders like the Mayor of Eureka.
This is a letter written by Sean Flower, the Mayor of Eureka on the County Executive’s plan to return St. Louis County to a mask mandate beginning Monday July 26th.
“The St. Louis County Executive, in coordination with the Mayor of the City of St. Louis, has issued a press releases stating that they intend to put a new mask mandate in place this coming Monday.
Neither has provided any basis for this order, and I know from discussion with St. Louis County officials that the St. Louis County Executive has not discussed the issue or shared any of the data/findings with the County Council, nor asked for their input or advice. This is 2 individuals making orders for nearly 1.4 Million people through press release.
Since the “orders” are not public (I do not know if they are even finalized yet) it is difficult to respond in detail. But the City of Eureka and its residents and businesses need to be able to plan, so I wanted to provide information about the City of Eureka.
The City of Eureka will remain “mask optional” at its public facilities and meetings, and all City activities and events will continue mask optional, including camps, the Timbers and other venues.
The City of Eureka Police Department and other staff will not enforce “County Health Orders”. I have made this position clear in the past, and this policy will continue.
I ask residents to respect decisions of business and vice versa, but the City will not enforce these orders or become the mask police.
I wanted to share a couple of comments on this position.
First, the only other place in the Country I have seen this mandate imposed is Los Angeles County (where the Sheriff has stated he will not enforce), and this mandate exceeds the CDC guidelines, which does not recommend masks for vaccinated individuals. No other community in the State of Missouri has done this, even those with much tougher health situations than ours. We are once again the outlier, and this order will simply drive people and business into nearby counties that trust their residents to make their own health decisions, and have no health impact.
Second, I believe that the new proposed orders are Anti-Vaccine, and will cause tremendous negative consequences for our area. The data shows that vaccinated individuals (and people with natural immunity due to infection) are at very low risk of catching covid and becoming ill, and do not spread the virus.
Mandating that vaccinated people or people with prior immunity mask undermines the message that vaccines are safe, effective and prevent spread. There simply could not be a worse way to increase vaccination rates than to promote a policy that states the vaccines don’t work very well so you need to mask to protect yourself and others.
Third, I believe that the County needs to step back from this heavy handed approach, and after nearly 16 months of mandates allow people to make their own health decisions. Vague restrictions imposed without legislative oversight and with no end dates, milestones, or goal posts have to stop. The County’s efforts have largely been ineffective (our rates on key health metrics generally are worse than surrounding counties). There have been options for to obtain a vaccine since February, especially for those with the most critical need. There is even a statewide contest with prizes if you get a shot right now. The vast majority of people can choose to protect themselves if they want.
Fourth, the City of Eureka and the Eureka Fire District have worked hard to get people vaccinated. We had a local location where many were able to get the vaccine, and our Fire District has provided enormous help the regions by doing mobile vaccinations. Based on conversation with officials with knowledge, the Eureka area has a 65% vaccination rate. Eureka residents understand how to assess their own risk, and do not need mandates. I recommend the vaccine, especially for those that are in at risk age groups or with the specific pre conditions that Covid attacks.
As a final note, I hope that all St. Louis County residents will contact their County Council Person and ask them to vote against this proposed order this Tuesday night. If 4 vote against the order, then we can put this issue behind us, and continue to allow people to take personal responsibility for their and their children’s own health decisions.”
Sean Flower is the Mayor of Eureka Missouri, has been a Eureka Resident since 2003 and married to Stacey for 23 years, with two children. I am Chairman of both the Eureka “Prop E Task Force” and later “Public Safety Task Force” that structured, advocated for, and later advised the Eureka Board regarding “Prop E” which combats area flooding, builds a new police facility, and replaces the Allenton Bridge. Sean has been in the homebuilding business since 2002, started his own company in 2008. Sean is experienced with Real Estate Development, Infrastructure installation, and Residential and Commercial Construction and Sales and is a Licensed Attorney since 1998 (Mizzou Graduate).