St. Charles County leaders have joined together to strongly request that all businesses in the county require customers to wear cloth face coverings in their establishments. This plea comes after an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the county over the past several weeks. The local leaders want to stop the spread of the virus now, before even suggesting a return to even a modified version of shelter in place.
“It is not too late to get this resurgence under control,” says Scott Tate, President & CEO of the Greater St. Charles County Chamber of Commerce. “Everyone needs to be cautious and considerate of others. Business owners can help immensely by making mask wearing a requirement in their establishment.”
County Executive Steve Ehlmann says, “We are encouraging businesses to please require anyone who enters their place of business to wear a mask. Most national chains have done this already. Nevertheless, we believe that each businessperson, after considering their responsibility to their customers, should have the freedom to make the decision. And when they make that decision, they need to be aware of the challenges the county is facing.”
St. Charles County is not immune to the increase in COVID-19 sweeping the nation. Across the United States, cities, counties and states are asking for or mandating the use of masks. Top health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and numerous healthcare systems recommend wearing masks. While medical experts initially questioned the benefit of masks at the onset of the pandemic, the St. Charles County Department of Public Health has consistently recommended that residents wear cloth face coverings when in public, practice social distancing, wash hands often, and sanitize common areas.
“The move to ‘mandatory masks’ is incredibly difficult to monitor and enforce,” says Saint Charles Mayor Dan Borgmeyer. “But, businesses like Walmart, Schnucks, Dierbergs, CVS and others mandating masks makes the effort 100 percent enforceable. We believe the business community can make a very strong and positive statement by leading on this effort to help flatten the curve of cases in the county.
“We have asked our residents and visitors to take personal responsibility and wear a mask when they are visiting businesses,” Borgmeyer continued. “Now we need businesses to make certain that is being done. We want businesses to remain open, and with everyone’s cooperation, we can make that happen voluntarily.”
Those joining in this request to businesses, in addition to Tate, Ehlmann and Borgmeyer, include Mayor Len Pagano, St. Peters; Mayor Bill Hennessy, O’Fallon; Mayor Jim Hennessey, Cottleville; Mayor David Zucker, Dardenne Prairie; Mayor Don Licklider, Weldon Spring; Mayor Kathy Schweikert, Lake Saint Louis; Mayor Nick Guccione, Wentzville; Wendy Berry, Executive Director, Cottleville-Weldon Spring Chamber of Commerce; Kathy Duck, President/CEO, O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce & Industries; and Tony Mathews, President/CEO, Western St. Charles County Chamber of Commerce.
“Our community works best when we work together,” says St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano. “Masking up while helping our businesses stay open and keeping our friends and neighbors on the job is the solution to stopping the spread and beating these challenges. St. Peters is proud to be a part of this united effort!”
Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione agrees: “I believe as a community we have to come together and do any and all things possible to prevent the spread of this infectious disease.”
The leaders have a message for all community residents and businesses: “Mask Up, St. Charles County. Let’s keep St. Charles County safe and economically healthy.”
Businesses looking for a free sign to get this message across can download and print one from the County’s website at sccmo.org. For questions about COVID-19 symptoms or testing, call the St. Charles County Department of Public Health Hotline at 636-949-1899.