It seems that Missouri partygoers had some sort of lapse in memory and forgot about the global pandemic that is currently plaguing our country. Although many were forced to stay inside during Memorial Day weekend, not everyone wanted to spend a four-day break social distancing. At Lake of the Ozarks, hundreds — if not thousands — gathered for a packed pool party over the holiday.
According to photos and police reports, people were reportedly jam-packed together in a manmade lake without masks, taking no social distancing precautions, with officials saying that the party interrupted efforts to flatten the curve and stop the spread of coronavirus.
"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," said the county executive, Dr. Sam Page, in a statement. However, despite photos of the event quickly spreading on social media while it was happening, no one came to shut the party down in the moment.
Tony Helms, the Camden County Sheriff, issued a statement about the event on Monday, saying that it was a "record weekend" at Lake of the Ozarks, however the lack of social distancing is not a crime and that his department had no authority to enforce it. Instead, public health violations must be up to health authorities to intervene in, he said. However, after the gathering, other public officials had a lot more to say about the party-goers.
After seeing reports and photos of the event, Lyda Krewson, the St. Louis Mayor made a public statement calling it “irresponsible and dangerous.” In a tweet, Mayor Krewson pointed out that, “Now, these folks will be coming home to St. Louis and counties all over Missouri and the Midwest, raising concerns about the potential of more positive cases, hospitalizations, and tragically, deaths.”
To avoid a flare up of new coronavirus cases across the state, health reps are demanding action. In its new travel advisory, the health department asked that those who were partying at the lake should “self-quarantine for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result for COVID-19.” St. Louis County Executive Sam Page is also calling for employers in the state to screen workers for health risks and ask about recent travel.
As of yesterday, there have been more than 12,100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Missouri, 685 deaths due to the disease, and 4,455 cases of COVID-19 with 386 deaths in St. Louis County specifically.