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UTICA, N.Y. (AP) — A federal judge ruled that New York must continue to allow health care workers to seek exemption from a statewide vaccine mandate on religious grounds as a lawsuit challenging the requirement proceeds.

Judge David Hurd in Utica had issued a temporary restraining order a month ago after 17 doctors, nurses and other health professionals claimed in a lawsuit that their rights would be violated with a vaccine mandate that disallowed the exemptions.

Hurd’s ruling Tuesday means New York will continue to be barred from enforcing any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions.