The mayor of a Missouri town nestled on the Lake of the Ozarks, the popular resort destination that was the scene of multiple incidents of people crowded into pools and bars this past weekend, says that there’s no way for him to enforce social distancing, The Kansas City Star reports.
This weekend, the weekend preceding Memorial Day and, thus, the traditional start of the summer holiday season, videos emerged on social media showing crowds of people at bars, swimming pools, and other businesses at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks. In some cases, signs could be seen asking customers to maintain a distance of six feet apart. However, those signs appear to have been largely ignored.
John Olivarri is the mayor of Osage Beach, one of the resort towns along the shores of the lake located about 175 miles west of St. Louis. He says that, like many Americans, he, too, was concerned about what he saw in the pictures and videos.
“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,” he told the Kansas City newspaper.
However, he also noted that short of shutting down the entire lake and, with it, much of the region’s economy, there was little he or any other authorities in the region could do.
“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,” he said.
Olivarri also noted that dispatching the police would have been pointless: if police had responded to every call they received about revelers not practicing social distancing, there wouldn’t be enough police officers to do so.
Pointing to Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s social distancing guidelines, Olivarri said that “no one thought it was going to be easy” to enforce them. Instead, he said, the businesses should bear some of the responsibility for allowing customers in such close proximity with each other.
Another Missouri politician, Former U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, was also alarmed by the photos and videos.
“Hope none of them have parents fighting cancer, grandparents with diabetes, aunts and uncles with serious heart conditions,” she tweeted.
It was the second time in a few days that the matter of social distancing in Missouri has made headlines. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, this weekend news emerged that two hairstylists in Springfield may have exposed over 100 people to the coronavirus.