Video posted by a reporter shows partiers crowded together in a pool at the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, this Memorial Day weekend.
Scott Pasmore, an anchor for CNN affiliate KTVK, shot the video at Backwater Jacks Bar & Grill in Osage Beach on Saturday.
The gathering violates social distancing measures intended to limit the spread of Covid-19. As part of Missouri’s reopening plan announced earlier this month, state officials said restaurants may offer dining-in services but must adhere to social distancing and other precautionary public health measures.
Jodi Akins, from Blue Springs, told CNN in a message that she visited the bar with four friends for a pool party on Saturday.
“When we walked up my first words were ‘oh my gosh’ it was intense for sure!! Social distancing was nonexistent. However everyone was enjoying themselves. It was a very carefree environment but security was heavy!!” she wrote to CNN.
She said the bar took some safety precautions.
“They checked all of our temps and had thousands of little bottles of hand sanitizer!! They did a good job with what they had to work with!!” she wrote.
The bar posted on Facebook that this was its launch of a summer party called “Zero Ducks Given Pool Party.” It advertised several DJs and bands performing throughout the event.
“The venue has worked with and taken the advice of government officials and management teams and will be following social distancing guidelines. Extra precautions and safety measures will be taken to provide a safe environment for you to enjoy the event,” the bar said.
The bar said it would be operating at reduced capacity, attendants would be continually cleaning and sanitizing bathrooms and that there would be a paramedic on staff for the duration of the event.
Coronavirus is not likely to spread in water, the CDC says, but it does spread through people in close proximity. Staying at least 6 feet from others is particularly important at pools or beaches because masks are impractical in water.
For example, several people who attended a high school swim party in neighboring Arkansas contracted Covid-19, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Saturday.
Large turnout was expected
The Lake of the Ozarks expected a large turnout this weekend after getting a late start to the season because of the pandemic, according to CNN affiliate KTVI.
“It’s supposed to be one of the biggest Memorial Day weekends we’ve seen at the lake here in years,” Bill Morgan, manager of Robins Resort in Lake of the Ozarks, told KTVI earlier this week.
Adam Kirk lives in Osage Beach, Missouri, and shot a time-lapse drone video that shows the amount of boat traffic on the Lake of the Ozarks on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
“It definitely seems like more (traffic) than last year,” he said. “It seems like everyone is having the same idea, to come to the lake to enjoy summer, because you can social distance at the same time.”
About 11,800 people in Missouri have tested positive for coronavirus and about 680 have died from Covid-19 infection, according to state data.
Ed Yong, a writer at The Atlantic, cautioned that overcrowded pools may not represent the broader American public’s attitude toward social distancing.
“It’s much more compelling to show someone flocking out into a public space than to show, for example, me sitting at home and following guidelines,” he said. “Yet the latter is probably more reflective of what most Americans are actually doing.”
More than two-thirds of Americans are concerned about their respective states being reopened too quickly, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll.
CNN’s Fenly Foxen contributed to this report.