Lake of the Ozarks bar responds to pool party controversy: 'No laws were broken'

The owner of Backwater Jacks Bar and Grill also stressed the name of the event – "No Ducks Given" – had nothing to do with the current global coronavirus pandemic.

Sam Masterson
May 27, 2020 - 7:59 am

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (KMOX) - The owner of the Lake of the Ozarks business featured in many viral photos and videos over Memorial Day Weekend is standing by his decision to be open and says they didn't break any laws. 

Backwater Jacks Bar and Grill owner Gary Prewitt posted a response letter on Facebook Tuesday evening.

"No laws were broken. Social distancing is not a crime. As stated by the Camden County Sheriff," the letter states. 

Backwater Jacks response letter
(Backwater Jacks)

Prewitt says in the letter that non-contact thermal checks were conducted at both of the pool entrances "by medical staff hired for the event" and that anyone with a temperature above 100.4 was denied entry. He says there was free hand sanitizer available for all attendees and all staff had the option of working or staying home.

He also stressed the name of the event – "No Ducks Given" – had nothing to do with the current global coronavirus pandemic. He says it's an annual event that took place on Memorial Day Weekend for the third year in a row.  

"Our business is seasonal and nearly a third of our season has already been lost. The initial shut down has already had a tremendous impact on many of our staff and their families," the letter states.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Tuesday called the parties that didn't practice safe social distancing a "poor decision" and mentioned the dangerous situation it creates for the home communities that people who were at those parties will return to.

Related: Gov. Parson: 'Poor choices' were made at Lake of the Ozarks parties

Health leaders in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas want a two-week quarantine for those who were traveling with – or live with – someone who's more likely to get infected. 

Related: St. Louis County issues travel advisory in wake of Lake Of Ozarks holiday partying
As businesses start to reopen, the health department's also recommending businesses screen their employees and ask questions about Memorial Day weekend travel.

Parson said did he witness some safe social distancing at his granddaughter's high school graduation at Sparta High School. 

You can listen to more from Parson, here.

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