LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo – Bars at Lake of the Ozarks made national headlines in May with crowd sizes during Memorial Day weekend; now, some bar owners are taking what they learned then to put in place for the 4th of July.
On Memorial Day, bar owners estimated nearly 800,000 people attended. This weekend they are planning for a million visitors. Ozarks First reporter Emily Manley visited Shady Gators, and the bar told her they would follow the same guidelines as they did Memorial Day.
“We are treating it like a normal holiday weekend. We really do feel like this is going to be the biggest holiday weekend the lake has ever seen,” says Shady Gators Co-Owner Jeremy Gorham.
Gorham says they will expect people from across the country to visit. He said they are stocked with hand sanitizers, plastic silverware, and paper menus.
“We have thermometers to take people’s temperatures on our big events before they come in here. We have bathroom attendants. We are constantly power washing the place down every day, every inch of it,” says Gorham.
Just a few miles away from Shady Gators, video Backwater Jacks Bar and Grill over Memorial Day Weekend went viral. One person tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Camden County Health Department, and that person was at Shady Gators Saturday and Sunday.
“Two weeks later, we were counting down the days because they say you have to wait 14 days to see if you have it or not,” says Gorham.
He says he was nervous for Memorial Day Weekend and says the past few months have been stressful on the business. He does believe summer 2020 has been one of their busiest summers yet because people are eager to get out of their house, and Missouri is mostly reopened.
“We are very grateful and appreciate everyone for coming to the Lake of the Ozarks this summer, it doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Gorham says the bar also added more security this summer and have added more bathroom attendants.
He also says if any employee isn’t feeling well, he will send him or her home until they get a COVID-19 test and show that it’s negative.