Despite the pandemic, videos have emerged of a packed party in Lake of the Ozarks, a popular Missouri vacation spot
While June 20 might be the official first day of summer, Memorial Day weekend is definitely its unofficial kickoff. Traditionally, Americans swarm beaches, lakes, rivers, and pools, host huge BBQs with their closest friends and family, and embark on family vacations to their favorite spots. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have opted to scrap their usual holiday weekend plans and stay home in order to stop the spread of the highly infectious and potentially deadly virus. Others, not so much — as evidenced by photos and videos of partiers in the popular Missouri vacation spot Lake of the Ozarks.
In the media clips and videos, hoards of partiers are packed inside and outside of a lakeside pool — dancing, drinking, and clearly not practicing social distancing by any definition of the term.
According to a report from The Kansas City Star, docks were shaking from all the boats zipping through the water, and the reservoir was “filled with vacationers as locals and out-of-staters.” Despite the fact that restaurants and attractions were only recently available to open, the news outlet reports that, over the last few months, the lake has still been busy.
Got these pictures sent from Lake of the Ozarks today. The business has a sign that calls for six feet of social distancing. It does not appear that request is being honored by patrons, or enforced by the business. The person who took the pictures noticed crowd while walking by. pic.twitter.com/7SDJi3eKnW
— Colin Jeffery (@colinjef) May 23, 2020
“It doesn’t seem the lake has slowed down as much as far as boat traffic and stuff like that,” said local Jacob Buehler, who has been in the area for several months. “Obviously, the restaurants were all shut down. Lots of people are coming down here, I think because schools and sports; everything’s been closed. So we haven’t been able to do a whole lot.”
However, as attractions have started reopening, and some people are staying on their boats, avoiding eating in restaurants, and wearing masks when in public, social distancing is less of a priority for others — as can be demonstrated from the photos and videos.
Here’s a look at the Lake of the Ozarks Saturday pic.twitter.com/RVEqfMvzXW
— Jesse Inman (@jesseinmanTV) May 24, 2020
“It’s been terrific because most things down here are pretty open,” said Robin Sebers, visiting from Illinois. “It’s as close to normal as you can possibly get. Illinois is still pretty much locked down.”
As pools and beaches reopen, reports are now surfacing of people contracting the virus at pool parties, including in Arkansas, where Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters on Saturday that several people who attended a recent high school swim party contracted COVID-19, CNN reports.
“A high school swim party that I’m sure everybody thought was harmless. They’re young, they’re swimming, they’re just having activity and positive cases resulted from that,” Hutchinson said, reminding people to “be disciplined” in their activities.
“During this Memorial (Day) weekend, we want to be out and we want to enjoy ourselves, we want to remember this holiday and those that have served our country and given their lives in service of our country. But let’s be safe and let’s be disciplined at the same time,” he continued.
View this post on Instagram
As summer begins, dive into these tips for enjoying the pool and preventing the spread of the virus that causes #COVID19: In or out of the water, stay 6 feet away from people who do not live with you, stay home if you are not feeling well, use cloth face coverings when not in the water, children under 2 years of age or anyone who has trouble breathing should not use face coverings, and limit sharing of pool toys and equipment. #summertime #poolsafety #CDC #PublicHealth
While much of the country is in the process of reopening, many states are still experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases. If you do head to a pool or beach this summer, continue to practice social distancing per the CDC.
Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.