St. Louis County, Mo., rolled out a travel advisory after droves of people flocked to the Lake of the Ozarks — a popular vacation destination in mid-Missouri — over Memorial Day weekend, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” County Executive Sam Page said in a statement . “I encourage everyone to follow the Department of Public Health advisory to determine a safe path forward in the workplace.”
Videos of packed shoreline pools, bars and restaurants went viral over the weekend. Former Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillRepublicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sunday shows preview: States deal with fallout of Ida; Texas abortion law takes effect Giuliani to stump for Greitens in Missouri MORE (D) tweeted that the scene was "embarrassing for my state."
"Hope none of them have parents fighting cancer, grandparents with diabetes, aunts and uncles with serious heart conditions," McCaskill added. "Because clearly they could care less."
Social distancing is nearly nonexistent out here at the Lake of the Ozarks today. Turn on #ABC17News tonight at 10 to hear what a tourist and a spokesperson from the MSHP are saying. #MemorialDayWeekend pic.twitter.com/roZ4G3Ek9o— ABC 17's Zach Boetto (@ABC17Zach) May 24, 2020
Missouri has more than 12,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nearly 700 deaths from it, but the Show Me State's stay-at-home order was lifted by Gov. Mike Parsons (R) on May 3. Some nonessential businesses have been able to reopen, though businesses were still expected to adhere to distancing guidelines.
The Lake of the Ozarks, likely known by most as the setting for Netflix's series "Ozark," is about three hours from the state's largest cities — St. Louis and Kansas City — making it the go-to in-state destination for vacations and holiday weekends.
However, unlike St. Louis County, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas (D) said Monday that he wasn't going to issue a similar travel advisory.
“As a Missourian, I was disappointed to see the scenes this weekend at the lake,” Lucas told The Kansas City Star. “As mayor of Kansas City, I am going to stay focused on doing all we can to keep people safe here, including guidance to Kansas Citians here and elsewhere to maintain social distancing, avoid crowds, and to be smart.”