ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to end St. Louis County’s new mask mandate.

Schmitt made the announcement on Twitter Wednesday evening.

“Today I filed suit against St. Louis County for passing an illegal mask mandate last night,” he tweeted. “Evidently, COVID tyranny is a hard habit to break. The citizens of St. Louis County are free people, not subjects, and can make these decisions themselves.”

On Tuesday, the St. Louis County Council voted 4-3 in favor of the order, which requires vaccinated and unvaccinated people older than 5 to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. The county-wide mandate went into effect today at 8:30 a.m.

The county rescinded its previous mask mandate on Dec. 9, weeks after a Cole County judge barred local health departments from issuing them.

Councilmembers who voted for the new mandate this week cited an increase of COVID-19 cases in the St. Louis area. A record 1,114 people are currently hospitalized with the virus, according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force.

There was also a record number of new patients overnight. The latest data shows there were 213 new hospital admissions, up from 176 new patients reported yesterday.