Ozarks Pool Party Highlights Weekend of Lax Social Distancing Around America

Across the country, people gathered in potentially unsafe ways

Lake of the Ozarks
This is not how to social distance oneself.
10 Tampa Bay
By Tobias Carroll / May 25, 2020 2:49 pm

For most Americans, Memorial Day is traditionally a day involving outdoor activities. For some, that might be a parade honoring deceased soldiers; for others, it might involve cookouts or trips to the beach. With COVID-19 continuing to be a serious concern throughout the country, that outdoor focus seemed likely to be reduced this year. As a precaution to prevent infection, numerous parades across the country were canceled — an understandable, albeit bittersweet, decision.

That isn’t to say that there weren’t large gatherings that took place around the country this weekend, however — to the frustration of many.

The most notable, CNN reports, took place in Missouri, at Lake of the Ozarks. As Eric Levenson and Amanda Jackson write, a pool party held at Backwater Jacks Bar & Grill drew criticism for its handling (or lack thereof) of social distancing measures:

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.

Attendees did note that temperatures were being checked, and the venue issued bottles of hand sanitizer and stated that they were sanitizing bathrooms.

This particular bar was far from the only place where social distancing wasn’t observed this weekend, however. A report at Al Jazeera English cites crowded beaches and parks across the country — including some areas where law enforcement was monitoring social distancing regulations. In other areas, such as Yellowstone National Park, visitors were asked to abide by specific guidelines. Will self-enforcement help keep COVID-19 at bay? A nation hopes that it will.

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