St. Louis County councilors voted 4-3 Tuesday along party lines to enact a mask requirement that went into effect Wednesday morning.

The order requires all people (vaccinated and unvaccinated) over the age of five to wear a mask while in public indoor spaces. It comes as the region experiences a surge in COVID-19 infections that has caused a record number of hospitalizations.

Tuesday’s vote came just over a month after Cole County Circuit Judge Daniel Green ruled a state health department rule allowing local public health agencies to issue orders to control the spread of disease was unconstitutional. The county’s mask order was rescinded shortly after, but the county has appealed the ruling.

Directly after Tuesday’s vote, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt tweeted his intentions to file yet another suit to challenge the order.  

“The COVID tyrants are at it again in St. Louis Co with another illegal masking order,” he wrote. “They simply refuse to relinquish their power to the people who can make these decisions themselves[.] As AG for the free people of this state, I’ll file suit tomorrow [and] win again. #NoMaskMandates”

Fourteen people spoke during the one-hour public comment, 13 of whom opposed the mask mandate for various reasons, including legal rulings, mask effectiveness and bodily autonomy.

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