WASHINGTON, Mo. — In August, local officials in this small city an hour west of St. Louis voted against requiring residents to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
On Nov. 23, with COVID-19 cases surging and the local hospital overflowing, the City Council brought a mask order back for another vote. As protesters marched outside, Councilman Nick Obermark, an electrician, was the sole member of the nonpartisan council to change his vote, causing the mandate to pass.
One of his many reasons? He has a child the same age as Washington Middle School student Peyton Baumgarth, 13, who on Halloween became the youngest person in Missouri to die of COVID-19 complications.