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Judge denies temporary restraining order, allows St. Louis County mask mandate to continue

The next court date for the lawsuit is set for Feb. 8 at 9 a.m.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — A St. Louis County Circuit Court judge denied a request for a temporary restraining order Wednesday that would have halted the most recent mask mandate in the county.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit on Jan. 5 — the day a new mask mandate went into effect in St. Louis County — calling it "illegal". On Wednesday, Judge Richard Stewart denied a temporary restraining order against the St. Louis County mask mandate passed by the St. Louis County Council on Jan. 4.

The mandate was passed by the St. Louis County Council in a 4-3 vote along party lines. The order went into effect the next day at 8:30 a.m. It requires all people over the age of 5 to wear a mask "while in indoor and enclosed public buildings and spaces and public transportation" in St. Louis County. The mandate does not apply to people who are eating or drinking or people alone in separate rooms or offices of public places.

Schmitt's lawsuit argued, "under the new state law governing the authority of local political subdivisions to issue health orders, the January 5 mask mandate is a prohibited order." 

In the ruling, Judge Stewart said Schmitt was "unlikely to succeed with this argument."

"The state legislature limited the authority of a health officer, local health agency, or public health authority to enact such orders indefinitely," Stewart said in the ruling, "however, it did allow a duly elected legislative body to act when it deemed necessary. Consequently, even if this Court were to apply §67.265.1(1) RSMo, the January 5 Order would not be prohibited."

In a tweet, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said his office was "pleased with the court's ruling."

Schmitt provided the following statement:

“Today, the Court issued a purely technical decision. We’ve won before, and we will win again. I will never, ever stop fighting back against these COVID tyrants, who are hellbent on power and control. 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.”

The next court date for the lawsuit is set for Feb. 8 at 9 a.m.

You can read the full ruling below:

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