August 31, 2021

Dear Friends,

I am proud to announce that on Friday, the St. Louis County Council reached an agreement that can “withstand any legal challenges regarding questions of masks”, per the County’s legal counsel.

As many of you are aware, over the past three weeks I, along with St. Louis Councilwoman Shalonda Webb (4th District), have been at odds with the County Executive and some members of the County Council over the very narrow and short-sighted approach to addressing the increasing number of COVID-19 infections in St. Louis County. As I have previously stated, “simple solutions will not appropriately address this plague that has ravaged our communities.” To be clear, Councilwoman Webb and I strongly believe that masks are effective, and that people must wear them in order to defeat this virus. In addition to masking, we seek a broader, more comprehensive plan that focuses first on vaccinations to slow and stop the infection rate. 

Prior to the issue of the mask mandate, Councilwoman Webb and I asked for a plan that addressed the factors that contribute to the significantly higher morbidity rates in our districts. In addition, we asked for accountability for the $173,000,000 in COVID relief funds spent by the County and the impact that money has had on helping our citizens and their quality of life.  Sadly, our requests have been met with silence or the one-dimensional mask mandate. In lieu of not being presented with a plan from the administration, we submitted our own $50,000,000 plan that includes increasing the vaccination rates and addresses some of the healthcare issues that our communities face that lead to elevated instances of COVID. The County Executive and fellow council members have expressed support for our plan, so we are optimistic about the outcome.

I want to acknowledge those on the Council who, regardless of their party affiliation, worked in a bipartisan fashion to protect the interest of all Countians. I also want to thank those who have taken the time to reach out to us and share your thoughts about our position. We have been listening and evaluating all concerns regarding masks and public health and encourage you to continue to voice your opinions. 

As the duly elected representatives from our districts, we have a responsibility to perform our duties as outlined by the law and protect our citizens. Together, we stand ready to work with the County’s leadership and our residents because that is what our constituents expect and deserve.


Rita Heard-Days

1st District Councilwoman

Chair, St. Louis County Council