Skip to content Skip to footer

Lake of Ozarks Partygoers Who Ignored Social Distancing Told to Self-Isolate

Missouri’s relatively low infection rate is in jeopardy after the weekend party drew crowds from around the state.

Screengrabs of a video show partygoers at the "Lake of the Ozarks" party in Missouri on May 23, 2020.

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally spent with friends and family members, and is commonly seen as the unofficial start of summer. In the era of COVID-19, however, many barbecue events and grill outs were understandably canceled or at least modified, to coincide with social distancing recommendations put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A number of places and individuals, however, clamoring to “reopen” and return to a state of “normalcy” before the crisis happened, seemed to ignore those rules altogether. Videos on social media highlighted a number of events happening where distancing guidelines weren’t being followed at all, including most notably in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks.

A popular video from that location from over the weekend showcased how revelers were interacting with one another in a poolside environment. It’s evident from that video that many individuals, if not most or nearly all of them, were not wearing masks or facial coverings while attending the event, with even fewer respecting a six-foot separation from others, in complete defiance of what the CDC has said Americans should be doing, even as states across nation end stay-at-home orders.

Because hundreds of party-goers were shown in a number of social media postings at the Lake of the Ozarks flouting social distancing rules, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page issued a statement on Tuesday telling residents of his county that, if they were at the Lake party this past weekend, they should self-quarantine.

Page blasted those who attended the party.

“This reckless behavior endangers countless people and risks setting us back substantially from the progress we have made in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” he said in a statement.

Page also recommended that those who were in attendance at the Lake of the Ozarks should get tested and receive a negative result for coronavirus before they leave their homes again.

Former Sen. Claire McCaskill shared the same sentiments as Page regarding the party-goers at the event in a tweet she authored on Tuesday. Sharing a video that highlighted new drive-thru testing sites in the state, McCaskill urged Missouri residents who were at the Lake of the Ozarks to get themselves checked out.

“Hoping some of those STL area folks that were body to body all over the Lake this weekend get tested today,” she wrote.

In a separate tweet, citing from her own experience waiting “tables down there every summer in college,” McCaskill suggested that most of the revelers were probably from out of town, likely to return to Kansas City and St. Louis, and possibly spreading coronavirus in their communities when they returned home.

​​Not everyone can pay for the news. But if you can, we need your support.

Truthout is widely read among people with lower ­incomes and among young people who are mired in debt. Our site is read at public libraries, among people without internet access of their own. People print out our articles and send them to family members in prison — we receive letters from behind bars regularly thanking us for our coverage. Our stories are emailed and shared around communities, sparking grassroots mobilization.

We’re committed to keeping all Truthout articles free and available to the public. But in order to do that, we need those who can afford to contribute to our work to do so.

We’ll never require you to give, but we can ask you from the bottom of our hearts: Will you donate what you can, so we can continue providing journalism in the service of justice and truth?