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ST. LOUIS (AP) — The new mask mandate in the city and county of St. Louis that takes effect this week is being criticized by several state and local elected officials.

Starting today, masks will be mandatory in indoor public places and on public transportation for everyone age 5 or older, even for those who are vaccinated, officials said in a news release Friday. Wearing masks outdoors will be encouraged, especially in group settings.

The politicians opposing the renewed mask mandate include Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and St. Louis County Councilmen Tim Fitch and Mark Harder, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Schmitt, who is running for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, said he plans to file a lawsuit today to block the city and county from enforcing the renewed mandate.

"If the last six months have taught us anything it's that when it comes to expansive, authoritative executive action we have to fight back with everything we've got — all the time," he tweeted Saturday. "Wherever we see it — fight the fight. Our freedoms are on the line."

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St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones on Saturday responded to Schmitt on Twitter: "Our top priority is protecting the health, safety, and wellbeing of the people of St. Louis City and County. Nobody is surprised that the Attorney General plans to file yet another frivolous lawsuit to serve his own political ambitions."

Fitch and Harder said they may ask the County Council to rescind the new mask mandate.

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