Missouri Judge Rules Local COVID Health Orders 'Null and Void,' Should Be Ended

In response to a lawsuit filed in 2020, Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green ruled that local COVID health orders are "null and void," rescinding the Missouri mandates.

The lawsuit was filed when St. Louis, St. Louis County, and other jurisdictions implemented health mandates to stunt the spread of COVID. St. Louis County requires masks in indoor public places and on public transportation for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people ages 5 and older, The Associated Press reported. The county, pulling from an agreement between federal, state, and local public health officials, said until more individuals are inoculated, the measure is necessary to curb the spread of COVID.

Green said orders like those are in direct violation of the Missouri Constitution's separation of powers clause and are illegal.

"This case is about whether Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services regulations can abolish representative government in the creation of public health laws, and whether it can authorize closure of a school or assembly based on the unfettered opinion of an unelected official. This court finds it cannot," Green wrote.

"Missouri's local health authorities have grown accustomed to issuing edicts and coercing compliance. It is far past time for this unconstitutional conduct to stop," added Green, The Hill reported.

Ben Brown, the owner of Satchmo's Bar and Grill in St. Louis County, was among those who filed the lawsuit, saying the orders were an example of "tyranny."

"It is time for our businesses, schools and residents to embrace the freedom that this decision provides," Brown, who is also running for a state Senate seat, said. "It is time to make masks optional, end needless quarantines of Missouri's children, and go back to living productive lives while allowing individuals the freedom to choose how and when they interact with others based on each person's or family's personal decisions."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

COVID, Daniel Green, Missouri Health Orders
Missouri Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green ruled local COVID health orders illegal in response to a lawsuit filed in 2020 amid the COVID pandemic. In this photo, an usher walks through the aisles and carries a sign reminding fans to wear their mask during the seventh inning of the home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium on April 8, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. Jeff Curry/Getty Images

Democratic St. Louis County Executive Sam Page told the County Council that the mask mandate in Missouri's largest county should remain. He cited a rise in COVID-19 cases coming at a time when people start to gather for the holidays, and as the weather turns colder.

"Loosening mask requirements right now would be premature," Page said. "With winter on its way, people are spending more time inside, where respiratory viruses circulate more easily."

Page said he had not yet spoken with county attorneys to determine a response to the decision.

Mask Mandate, St.Louis County, Illegal, COVID
Democratic St. Louis County Executive Sam Page told the County Council that the mask mandate in St. Louis County should remain, citing an increase in COVID cases during times when people congregate for holidays and colder weather. In this photo, a nurse administers the Covid-19 vaccine to a teen at a baseball game on August 05, 2021 in Springfield, Missouri. Spencer Platt/Getty Images