Ozarks bar owner blames youth after video shows large crowds packed closely together Memorial Day weekend amid COVID-19 pandemic

OZARKS, Mo. -- As the coronavirus pandemic and Memorial Day Weekend collide, viral videos from across the country are showing social distancing "offenders" celebrating the holiday weekend.

In Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks, a popular summer tourist destination, videos show hundreds of people crammed together for concerts and day drinking.

Jason Stearman, who visited the Ozarks from California, took a video at Dog Days Bar and Grill in Osage Beach that shows dozens of people packed tightly in pools and surrounding tables. No one seen in the video is wearing a mask.

"The beautiful thing about the strip is there's 10 bars down here so you can go from bar to bar to bar," said Brent Boyles told KMIZ. "Some people stop and have a drink, and then just hop to the next place, you know they're walking up and down the streets and, you know, again, there was, there was a lot of people here so it's very hard to social distance with 10 bars in such a short little area."

Boyles is the owner of Marty Byrde's Bar and Grill. He said he was trying to play it safe with the amount of people in the bar at once but when the rain started it brought more people inside making it difficult to control everyone.

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As the coronavirus pandemic and Memorial Day Weekend collide, viral videos from across the country are showing social distancing "offenders" celebrating the holiday weekend.



"It seems like the younger generation doesn't have any fear here and so it's really more of a generational thing," Boyles said. "I really think that's true. Obviously it shouldn't because the older people are more affected by this so yeah it has lots of the kids don't seem to think that you know that bothers them at all. And then the harder ones to regulate."

Boyles said businesses were put in a tough spot when it came to enforcing social distancing and limited customers during the holiday weekend as most groups were families or a large group of friends together.

"You can't control your customers. You, like, control my staff, and we can follow all the rules and you know when customers are in, and they say they're with friends," Boyles said. "And there's a larger group, I mean, obviously, holiday weekend, you're gonna get a lot of families to come down so we're doing our best we can. Yes, but it's hard to tell somebody, 'Hey, you can't come in with more people.' So it's tough puts us in a tough spot."

Boyles said he's worried that the national attention Lake of the Ozarks and Osage Beach got this weekend could affect whether or not businesses could remain open.

"Fingers crossed in a couple weeks, this won't be a non-issue," he said. "Well no, I mean we're going to know because it's safe to say that people weren't following all the rules this weekend because of the holiday weekend. And just hope that there's no outbreak."