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Missouri lawmakers probe local emergency powers used to crack down on businesses

Added 01-25-21 09:23:02am EST - “The city of St. Louis Health Department ordered seven bars and restaurants to shutter their doors this week for violating COVID-19 public health orders.” - Washingtonexaminer.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Washingtonexaminer.com: “Missouri lawmakers probe local emergency powers used to crack down on businesses”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

The city of St. Louis Health Department ordered seven bars and restaurants to shutter their doors this week for violating COVID-19 public health orders.

St. Louis Health Director Dr. Fredrick Echols notified the owners of the businesses that they had violated his health orders for mask-wearing and social distancing. All seven were closed immediately, four for 30 days and three — repeated violators — for a year.

The city’s actions are exactly why Republicans in the Missouri Legislature have filed a bevy of 2021 bills that would preempt local health departments’ regulatory authority in a public health emergency.

The Senate Health & Pensions Committee is reviewing at least six proposed bills that would make it more difficult for city and state officials to close businesses or religious services during a public health emergency.

“Shutting down our economy won’t eradicate the virus,” said Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, during a panel meeting Wednesday where several of the six measures were introduced.

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