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St. Louis, St. Louis County to announce new joint health order after CDC says vaccinated people can largely ditch masks

St. Louis, St. Louis County to announce new joint health order after CDC says vaccinated people can largely ditch masks

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Updated at 6:05 p.m. to include Friday’s news conference.

ST. LOUIS — Officials from St. Louis and St. Louis County will announce a new joint health order on Friday morning, according to a Thursday news release.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its recommendations on Thursday to say that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a mask in many indoor settings.

Friday’s news conference, held by St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, will be 11:30 a.m. at St. Louis City Hall.

Christopher Ave, spokesman for the St. Louis County health department, had said earlier Thursday that the county was in the process of revising its health orders in light of the new federal guidance.

“Don’t overlook the caveats,” Ave said. The CDC still recommends that fully vaccinated people continue to wear masks in crowded indoor settings, like on public transit. “And remember, none of this applies to people who have not been vaccinated.”

Kim Vanden Berg, public information officer for the city of St. Louis health department, also said earlier Thursday that the city was still reviewing the new CDC recommendations.

“At this point we would still need to review that, as a department, get into the details of it, before we could look at making any changes,” Vanden Berg said.

Since July, the city’s mask order has required all individuals 9 years and older to wear face coverings inside public facilities, with exceptions for those who have certain medical conditions and disabilities, and when people are actively eating or drinking in a restaurant or bar.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will update its guidance, department spokeswoman Lisa Cox said Thursday afternoon. The existing DHSS recommendations say residents should wear a face covering “when in a public setting where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,” like at pharmacies and grocery stores.

Schnuck Markets Inc. also said it was reviewing its mask policies.

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said on Thursday that the new CDC guidance could add strength to the U.S. economic rebound by building confidence it is safe to resume normal commerce.

“That sounds like a recipe for very strong growth,” Bullard said.

The Reuters news service contributed to this report.

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