Memorial Day weekend at Lake of the Ozarks was quite a party. Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the lake to take part in the annual welcoming of summer. Critics from around the country, especially those in stay-at-home states, voiced outrage of the “negligence” of partiers. A new nickname arose "covidiots". Numerous TV and print news outlets called for officials to stop such reckless behavior.
Speaking to Taylor Bearass, pool partier at Backwater Jack’s Lakeside Grill, “the statewide shutdown was to slow the spread so hospitals weren't overrun. Mission accomplished, now it’s time to party!” Todd Hangeron, bartender at Captain Ron’s, another lakeside bar and grill said “it’s crazy down here. It’s like we let out caged animals. People are saying this is what it was like during the roaring 20’s of 100 years ago. I guess Missouri is kicking off the new roaring 20’s”.
A quick survey of the pool at Backwater Jack’s indicated that the vast majority of customers were under 40 years of age, seemed healthy and not social distancing by any stretch. The only masks we saw were worn by the employees. Dan Jarvis another visitor enjoying the pool said “Thankfully we have a governor and city officials who understand personal choice and responsibility. Hey, I might get Covid, but I’m healthy and will not be anywhere near my parents or other vulnerable people. So, I am making an informed decision".
Nicolas Tangari, sitting with a beer on his large boat said "We don’t need big brother protecting us. Besides, can you imagine how this is helping our economy?”. Asking several visitors how they felt about other states being so cautious in relaxing the stay-at-home orders, Ms. Bearass summed up the viewpoint of many saying “it sucks to be them”.
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