Missouri Officials Call for Self-Quarantine of Partiers at Lake of the Ozarks

Missouri officials are calling for the people who eschewed coronavirus safety guidelines at a crowded Memorial Day weekend pool party at the Lake of the Ozarks to self-quarantine after footage of the gathering went viral as an example of irresponsible social distancing practices. St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page issued an official statement Monday on the video, which was shot at Backwater Jack's Bar and Grill earlier in the holiday weekend.

"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," Page said, issuing an advisory stating that anyone who had traveled to or from the area and "engaged in this behavior" should self-quarantine for 14 days or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test.

Dr. Rex Archer, director of the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department, also tweeted the same recommendation, calling the partiers "COVID idiots" in a message alongside the video. "Anyone who didn't practice CDC, DHSS, and KCMO Health Department social distancing guidance should self-quarantine for 14 days if they have any compassion for others," Archer wrote.

The owner of the Backwater Jack's told Kansas City network KSHB that it was trying to promote social distancing and was not allowing in large groups all at once, but justified the lax regulations. "We don't know who's in groups, who's in families. We expect them to do that on their own," owner Gary Prewitt said. "We won't let large groups gather over 10 — at least try not to — and speak to them to spread out a little bit more."

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Meanwhile, Osage Beach mayor John Olivarri told the Kansas City Star he didn't see how the large party could have been avoided. "My concern is for our workers and whether some of the folks that have come down might be creating a health problem for the community, absolutely," Olivarri said. "But the only other thing that you could do would be shut it down. I don’t know how you would shut down Lake of the Ozarks. There’s no way to control that."

One person who attended the party, Tyler Crancer, told BuzzFeed News that he and his girlfriend both had their temperatures checked before they entered the party. "I felt fine and feel fine now," he said. "It was a little crowded and the bartenders were absolutely slammed. ...Now that I think about it, probably not a great idea, but there no law when you're drinking the [White] Claw."