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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The St. Louis County Council voted Tuesday night to enact a new mask mandate.

Councilmembers voted 4-3 in favor of the order, which would require vaccinated and unvaccinated people older than 5 to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. 

“An order is something that can take effect immediately, and we have the power to do that,” said Councilwoman Lisa Clancy.

Soon after the vote, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt tweeted a statement opposing the council’s decision and called the mandate “illegal.”

“They simply refuse to relinquish their power to the people who can make these decisions themselves,” Schmitt tweeted. “As AG for the free people of this state, I’ll file suit tomorrow & win again.”

On Monday, St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page said he supported a mask mandate. He said it would result in less confusion, more compliance, and it will help keep the economy going and schools open.

Councilman Tim Fitch said the order may be overturned.

“I’ll say it again for about the fifth time. There is a legal path to creating health mandates in St. Louis County. Sam let me know when you’re interested in hearing what that path is,” Fitch said.  

The county rescinded its previous mask mandate on Dec. 9, weeks after a Cole County judge barred local health departments from issuing them.

Over the holidays, COVID-19 case numbers skyrocketed with the emergence of the new highly-contagious omicron variant. The seven-day rolling average of COVID cases as of Sunday in St. Louis County is 1,574. That is the highest level since the pandemic began.