St. Louis County Issues Travel Advisory in Response to Lake of the Ozarks Parties

May 25, 2020 at 6:41 pm
St. Louis County issued a travel advisory after videos (screengrab posted  above) showed crowds of people partying at Lake of the Ozarks bars. - SCREENGRAB VIA TWITTER
St. Louis County issued a travel advisory after videos (screengrab posted above) showed crowds of people partying at Lake of the Ozarks bars.

If you spent the long weekend fist-pumping shoulder to shoulder in crowded Lake of the Ozarks bars, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page suggests you wind down with a nice two weeks of self-quarantine.

At Page's request, the county Department of Public Health has issued a travel advisory in response to videos and photos of mask-less masses partying as if they were not in the midst of a 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," Page says in a news release. "I encourage everyone to follow the Department of Public Health advisory to determine a safe path forward in the workplace."

The St. Louis region is in the middle of a multiphase plan to ease restrictions that closed down businesses during a stay-at-home order. As part of the slow reopening, employers are asked to monitor their staffs to keep them safe and ensure no sick workers are spreading the disease to the public or their co-workers. The advisory suggests that employers now ask their workers travel-related questions, such as whether they followed social distancing guidelines if they went on a trip.

In early May, Gov. Mike Parson and the state public health director, Dr. Randall Williams, lifted Missouri's meager stay-at-home restrictions. Parson has said repeatedly that he has faith in businesses and the public to act responsibly. But it didn't quite work out that way this weekend at the lake, where multiple bars were packed and their pools crammed with people.

As Riverfront Times columnist Ray Hartmann pointed out, St. Louis is the closest major city, even closer than Kansas City, to the weekend party center, making it a given that more than a few revelers would be returning to the metro.

The advisory won't force those people to now stay at home but, hey, they're surely a responsible bunch.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported when Missouri's statewide stay at home was lifted.

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