Owner of Lake of the Ozarks pool bar releases statement after videos of crowded party spread on social media

Published: May. 26, 2020 at 7:17 PM CDT
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The owner of one of the crowded Lake of the Ozarks pool bars seen in videos and pictures online over Memorial Day Weekend addressed the situation Tuesday evening.

In a post on Backwater Jacks' Facebook Page, Gary Prewitt, the owner of the business said the bar didn't break any laws.

"No laws were broken. Social distancing is not a crime. As stated by the Camden County Sheriff: "Camden County is a tourism-driven ecomony and each business is working hard to follow the state's guidelines and protect their patrons and staff. Those who frequented the businesses, bars, and restaurants 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 made those decisions to access the risks inherent to those decisions."

The statement issued four other bullet points.

"Non-contact thermal checks were conducted at both entrance to the pool by medical staff hired for the event. This upset many customers, however, it was an additional layer we chose to implement. Anyone with above a 100.4 [degrees Fahrenheit] temperature was refused entry. Personal bottles of FDA-approved hand sanitizer were made available for free to all attendees upon entry and for the duration of the event. Despite false reporting, the name of the event 'Zero Ducks Given' had absolutely nothing to do with the pandemic situation. This is the third year of the event series that takes place on each holiday weekend. Unfortunately, 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. All staff were given a choice of whether they wanted to work without any negative consequences if they chose not to.

Prewitt said he and Backwater Jacks management understand there are many emotions and feelings on every side of the pandemic situation, and his management team stands by the decision to hold their Memorial Day Weekend plans.

"We love our customers, and will continue to do our best to provide delicious food, drink, and entertainment at Backwater Jack's."