LAKE OF THE OZARKS (KMOV.com) -- Vacationers flocked to the Lake of the Ozarks for Memorial Day weekend; many taking a break from work or coronavirus woes to get a sense of normalcy and mark the unofficial start of summer.
However, several videos taken from the Lake of the Ozarks Saturday showed people not social distancing. Hundreds of people were packed into a pool and no one was seen wearing a mask.
One video was shot at Jack's Bar in Osage Beach, which hosted a party they had been advertising for weeks, the 'Zero Ducks Given Pool Party.' The bar's blog said precautions would be taken including operating at reduced capacity to allow for social distancing.
"I was just blown away by how overcrowded it was, it looked like a typical Memorial Day weekend. You wouldn't have known there were any coronavirus fears anywhere," said Scott Pasmore who is in the Ozarks. "A pool like that holds 100 people and it had 200 people in it."
Pasmore, who is an anchor and reporter at KMOV's sister station in Phoenix, said he was watching from a far, keeping his distance.
"I didn't want to go jump in the pool, I'll tell you that. I wouldn't have jumped in that pool if there was no coronavirus around," he said. "It was mostly young people, looking like they were looking to live their life and have party, and they couldn't care less about it."
Missouri Governor Mike Parson's reopening plan specifically allowed gyms and hotel swimming pools to reopen. Strict social distancing and sanitation guidelines are required to be followed.
"Unfortunately there were some poor decisions made and the social distancing was not followed, as we all know," Parson said Tuesday. "I think it's important when social distancing is not followed, this is potentially dangerous for everyone. Especially our most at-risk individuals."
Osage Beach Mayor John Olivarri said he had not seen the videos over the weekend but said the state's stay-at-home order expired weeks ago. He added that he wants people to be safe but says it is on them to make the right decision.
"The reality is this, the obligation, from my perspective, is for the individual themselves, in other words if they come to the Lake of the Ozarks, or they stay in St. Louis, if they go some place where they don't feel comfortable, then I applaud them for making the decision to go somewhere else," Olivarri said.
Businesses in the St. Louis area are ramping up precautions following a series of viral videos from the Lake of the Ozarks showing huge crowds gathering at bars and pools.
The City of St. Louis and St. Louis County plan to reopen some pools in early June.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson is not happy about the crowds, saying she is worried about it will mean for spreading COVID-19:
“It’s irresponsible and dangerous to engage in such high risk behavior just to have some fun over the extended holiday weekend. Now, these folks will be going home to St. Louis and counties across Missouri and the Midwest, raising concerns about the potential of more positive cases, hospitalizations, and tragically, deaths. Deeply disturbing.”