Missouri judge rules county health regulations related to COVID-19 are illegal

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A Missouri judge has ruled that local health regulations imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state are illegal and should be lifted.

Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green ruled that orders such as quarantines and business closures violate the separation of powers clause in the Missouri Constitution that affects the executive, legislature and judiciary.

Green has ordered that all existing health orders issued by local health authorities are “null and void”. His order reads:

This case is about whether the regulations of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services can do away with representative government when making public health laws, and whether it can allow the closure of a school or assembly. based on the unimpeded opinion of an unelected official. This court thinks not.

“We are aware of the Court’s ruling and are prepared to enforce compliance with the court’s order statewide,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a statement.

The lawsuit was filed in 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, when St. Louis City, St. Louis County and other jurisdictions issued health mandates to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Ben Brown, the owner of Satchmo’s Bar and Grill in Chesterfield, was one of those involved in the lawsuit. Brown, who is running for a seat in the Senate, said in a statement that the orders were an example of “tyranny.”

“It’s time for our businesses, schools and residents to embrace the freedom this decision offers,” Brown said. “It’s time to make masks optional, end unnecessary quarantines of Missouri’s children and return to productive lives, while giving individuals the freedom to choose how and when they interact with others based on personal decisions.” of any person or family.”

Brown told FOX 2 that the ruling will also affect schools, and he believes parents should ultimately decide what’s best for their children.

“It really comes down to people’s personal health decisions,” Brown said. “I think the people of Missouri will really benefit from it.”

County Executive Sam Page spokesman Doug Moore released a statement following the ruling, urging people to continue to practice masks and social distancing.

“We are aware of the recent Cole County court decision,” Moore said. NS. Louis County is not a party to that lawsuit. The next hearing in the mask case in St. Louis County is November 30. We hope everyone will follow masking and social distancing practices that experts in the field of the recommend public health during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Green’s ruling comes a day after Page raised concerns about the rise in COVID-19 cases ahead of the holiday season.

“If we can get through the holiday season without a spike in cases, we can start talks about easing the mask requirement,” Page told County Council members on Monday. “We know that governments across the country are taking this action; however, our numbers are simply too high to consider a shift from mandatory to recommended.”

Page suggested that the county mask ordinance would remain in effect after January 1. He said he will discuss the ruling with the district attorney and their attorneys.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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