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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s attempt to stop St. Louis County’s mask requirement hit a snag Wednesday.

A St. Louis County Circuit Court judge refused to block the county from enforcing its mandate. Schmitt called the judge’s decision “a purely technical decision.”

“We’ve won before, and we will win again,” Schmitt said. “The facts, science, and law are on our side, and we look forward to presenting that information to the court in the coming weeks. These COVID restrictions are ineffective, and people should have the power to make their own decisions.”

St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page also released a statement, saying: “A judge ruled today that St. Louis County’s mask mandate remains in place. We are pleased with the court’s ruling. Masks and vaccines together are the way out of this pandemic.”

The County Council approved the new mask mandate on Jan. 5. The following day, Schmitt filed a lawsuit and asked for a temporary restraining order to bar the county from upholding the order.

Wednesday’s ruling from Judge Richard M. Stewart will allow the county to continue enforcing the mandate until there’s a final judgment on the case. The next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 8.