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LAKE OF THE OZARKS, MO – A popular destination for residents of the St. Louis region this Memorial Day weekend will be the Lake of the Ozarks. Restaurants and resorts expect big numbers as they get a late start on their most profitable season.

Most of the resorts and restaurants have between March and October to make the most of their money. With pent-up demand for closer getaways, this season will likely be very successful.

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed back the start of the season for leisure on the lake. Now those restrictions are lifted in Camden County, the crowds are coming.

“It’s supposed to be one of the biggest Memorial Day weekends we’ve seen at the lake here in years,” said Bill Morgan, Robins Resort manager.

“Memorial Day weekend is always the big kick-off for us,” said Luke Hagedorn. 

Robin’s Resort and most nearby are nearly all booked up.

“Everybody’s tired of being at home looking at the same old walls…honey-do lists are done,” said Morgan.

With gas prices down, fear of flying, and some surrounding counties not fully opened for business, the Ozarks is now a destination for new faces.

“Some of the phone calls and messages on social media that I’ve addressed in the last few weeks are from folks from really all over the region,” Hagedorn said.

“With the social distancing and everything that’s been going on. I think a lot of people are going to be staying closer to home,” Morgan said.

There are not many new rules on the lake. There is social distancing at the Dog Days Bar and Grill.  It’s one of the biggest weekends they’ve seen in a while, and business owners say they are rolling with the punches safely.

“Bands, boats, and bikinis are kind of our thing,” Hagedorn said. “We’re going to continue with that do the best we can to keep our staff and our customers safe.”