The St. Louis County Department of Public Health (DPH) in Missouri in the United States has issued a travel advisory following a video circulating online of massive crowding at a pool party in the Lake of the Ozarks over Memorial Day weekend.
“Recent news reports indicate that many people, including those from the St.
Louis region, did not follow any protective practices over the holiday weekend,” the advisory reads.
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The DPH thus advises all those who travelled and failed to adhere to physical distancing guidelines to quarantine for 14 days or until they can receive a negative test result for COVID-19.
“I know many people safely enjoyed the lake this weekend while taking the appropriate safety precautions. But too many did not,” St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson tweeted on Monday. “And given the potential for asymptomatic spread, this behaviour creates much more risk for the rest of us.”
Similarly, in a tweet also published on Monday, Rex Archer, director of the Kansas City, Missouri, health department echoed the same sentiment.
“#COVIDIDIOTS Anyone who didn’t practice CDC, DHSS, and KCMO Health Department social distancing guidance should self-quarantine for 14 days if they have any compassion for others.”
Memorial Day Pool Party in the Ozarks! https://t.co/TcuOqim8Df via @YouTube #COVIDIDIOTS Anyone who didn’t practice CDC, DHSS, and KCMO Health Department social distancing guidance should self quarantine for 14 days if they have any compassion for others.
— Rex Archer, M.D., M.P.H. (@RexArcherMD) May 26, 2020
In a statement from Tony Helmes, the Camden County Sheriff, he explained that these public health violations do not fall under the authority of the sheriff’s office. He stated that his department has no power to enforce consequences for individuals that violate the measures surrounding physical distancing protocols.
“The Department of Health and the State of Missouri have eased restrictions and issued guidelines, which include social distancing,” the statement explained. “Pursuant to section 192.290 RSMO., Missouri law gives the authority and responsibility for investigating and enforcing public health violations to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.”
Helmes continued that violating physical distancing is not a crime and that the sheriff’s office has no legal authority to enforce actions.
“We expect residents and visitors alike to exhibit personal responsibility when at the lake,” he continues. “We also respect the right of citizens to move freely around the lake and take responsibility to protect themselves from any expected dangers related to COVID-19.”
As the weather continues to improve and summer is just around the corner, combined with the progressive easing of various restrictions, it is the responsibility of the individual to do what is best to ensure not only their own personal safety but others’ as well.