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Lake of the Ozarks bar owner defends his wild Memorial Day Weekend party amid COVID-19 pandemic

A Lake of the Ozarks bar owner who hosted a wild Memorial Day Weekend party is defending the event, saying no laws were broken because failure to observe social distancing ‘is not a crime’. 

Gary Prewett, who runs Backwater Jack’s Bar and Grill in Osage Beach, Missouri, took to Facebook Tuesday – three days after his establishment held a ‘Zero Ducks Given’ party, where revelers squeezed into a pool and flouted social distancing guidelines. 

Photos from Saturday’s event sparked widespread outrage, but Prewett insisted individuals had a right to attend the event, before explaining that he conducted non-contact temperature checks and provided bottles of hand sanitizer to keep party-goers safe. 

‘We understand that there are many emotions and feelings involved on every side of the pandemic situation… [but] we stand by our decision to move forward with Memorial Day Weekend plans,’ Prewett wrote.

‘We love our customers and will continue to do our best to provide delicious food, drink, and entertainment’. 

Gary Prewett has defended his decision to host this wild Memorial Day Weekend party at Backwater Jack's Bar and Grill over the weekend . Revelers are pictured packing into the venue's pool and flouting social distancing guidelines

Gary Prewett has defended his decision to host this wild Memorial Day Weekend party at Backwater Jack's Bar and Grill over the weekend . Revelers are pictured packing into the venue's pool and flouting social distancing guidelines

Gary Prewett has defended his decision to host this wild Memorial Day Weekend party at Backwater Jack’s Bar and Grill over the weekend . Revelers are pictured packing into the venue’s pool and flouting social distancing guidelines 

Prewett (pictured) released a statement on Facebook saying no laws were broken because failure to observe social distancing 'is not a crime'

Prewett (pictured) released a statement on Facebook saying no laws were broken because failure to observe social distancing 'is not a crime'

Prewett (pictured) released a statement on Facebook saying no laws were broken because failure to observe social distancing ‘is not a crime’

In the wake of widespread backlash over his 'Zero Ducks Given' party, Prewett released this lengthy statement on social media

In the wake of widespread backlash over his 'Zero Ducks Given' party, Prewett released this lengthy statement on social media

In the wake of widespread backlash over his ‘Zero Ducks Given’ party, Prewett released this lengthy statement on social media 

Prewett began his post by defiantly declaring that the event was perfectly legal, before he shared a quote from a local law enforcement officer. 

‘As stated by the Camden County Sheriff: “Those who frequented the businesses, bars and and restaurant at the lake this weekend made a conscious decision to attend each event and frequent each location. It was the right and responsibility of each individual who those decisions to access the risks inherent to those decisions.”‘

However, Prewett went on to claim he tried to minimize any inherent risks, offering ‘non contact thermal checks’ which were ‘conducted at both entrances to the pool by medical staff hired for the event.’

He added that the decision to take temperatures ‘upset many customers, however it was an additional layer [of protection] we chose to implement’. 

Prewett also asserted that ‘personal bottles of FDA-approved sanitizer’ were on hand throughout the party and insisted that staff were ‘given a choice as to whether they wanted to work without any negative consequences if they chose not to’.

The bar owner clarified that the name of the party – ‘No Ducks Given’ – had  ‘absolutely no relation’ to the current coronavirus crisis and was not a dig at social distancing requirements or stay-at-home orders. 

‘This is the third year of the event series that takes place each holiday weekend,’ Prewett explained. 

Prewett said attendees had their temperatures taken and were able to access 'FDA- approved' sanitizer. Saturday's party is pictured

Prewett said attendees had their temperatures taken and were able to access 'FDA- approved' sanitizer. Saturday's party is pictured

Prewett said attendees had their temperatures taken and were able to access ‘FDA- approved’ sanitizer. Saturday’s party is pictured 

Hundreds of party-goers crammed into pools and were spotted without masks as they partied over the Memorial weekend at Osage Beach of the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

Hundreds of party-goers crammed into pools and were spotted without masks as they partied over the Memorial weekend at Osage Beach of the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

Hundreds of party-goers crammed into pools and were spotted without masks as they partied over the Memorial weekend at Osage Beach of the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

'What a nice day': Blackwater Jack's hosted their first party of the summer pool season despite the coronavirus pandemic

'What a nice day': Blackwater Jack's hosted their first party of the summer pool season despite the coronavirus pandemic

People were seen in a crowded pool at a venue decorated in flags

People were seen in a crowded pool at a venue decorated in flags

‘What a nice day’: Blackwater Jack’s hosted their first party of the summer pool season despite the coronavirus pandemic. People were seen in a crowded pool at a venue decorated in flags

Prewett’s post came a day after Missouri state officials ordered attendees to self-quarantine for two weeks.  

The state’s health director, Randall Williams, issued a dire warning Monday after the photos and video showed weekend revelers partying close together. 

‘When they then carry the virus and transmit it to a more vulnerable person, this is when we tend to see the long-lasting and tragic impact of these decisions that are being made,’ he stated.   

Meanwhile, St Louis County Executive Sam Page slammed the gathering, stating: ‘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.’ 

Timelapse footage shot from a local resident over just 20 minutes shows dozens of boats arriving for the boozy bash, breaching lockdown guidance amid the coronavirus pandemic.   

St Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson slammed the antics of the party-goers as 'deeply disturbing'

St Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson slammed the antics of the party-goers as 'deeply disturbing'

St Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson slammed the antics of the party-goers as ‘deeply disturbing’

St Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson slammed the antics of the party-goers as ‘deeply disturbing’. 

She said: ‘It’s irresponsible and dangerous to engage in such high risk behavior just to have some fun over the extended holiday weekend,’ KMOV reported. 

‘Now, these folks will be going home to St. Louis and counties across Missouri and the Midwest, raising concerns about the potential of more positive cases, hospitalizations, and tragically, deaths. Deeply disturbing.’ 

Revelers are seen celebrating Memorial Day weekend at Osage Beach at the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri on Saturday

Revelers are seen celebrating Memorial Day weekend at Osage Beach at the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri on Saturday

Revelers are seen celebrating Memorial Day weekend at Osage Beach at the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri on Saturday

Guests at the $10 Zero Ducks Given party were caught in a stream of photos shared online that revealed people just inches away from each other as they drank and engaged in intimate dancing. 

One video posted on social media shows a crammed pool where people lounged close together without masks. 

Although coroanvirus is not believed to spread in water, it is contagious in areas where people are in close proximity.  

Scott Pasmore, a KTVK-3TV Arizona anchor tweeted: ‘No covid concerns at the lake of the ozarks.’  

Party attendee Jodi Akins told CNN: ‘When we walked up my first words were ‘oh my gosh’ it was intense for sure. Social distancing was nonexistent. 

‘However everyone was enjoying themselves. It was a very carefree environment but security was heavy.’ 

However, it wasn’t just Backwater Jack’s that saw large crowds of revelers. 

Additional parties were held at the other venues in and around the Lake of the Ozarks. 

There have so far been close to 11,800 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Missouri and nearly 680 deaths.  

Lockdown restrictions have now been eased in every US state, with crowds of people turning out to celebrate Memorial Day over the weekend.

Guests at the $10 Zero Ducks Given event at Backwater Jack's were spotted hugging and kissing on Saturday afternoon

Guests at the $10 Zero Ducks Given event at Backwater Jack's were spotted hugging and kissing on Saturday afternoon

Zero Ducks Given organizers said they worked with government officials to kick off the pool season safely and stated on Facebook that there would be reduced capacity.

Zero Ducks Given organizers said they worked with government officials to kick off the pool season safely and stated on Facebook that there would be reduced capacity.

Guests at the $10 Zero Ducks Given event at Backwater Jack’s were spotted hugging and kissing on Saturday afternoon. Zero Ducks Given organizers said they worked with government officials to kick off the pool season safely and stated on Facebook that there would be reduced capacity

Source: dailymail US

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