Gov. Parson responds to viral videos of crowds at the Lake of the Ozarks


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo – Governor Mike Parson said poor decisions were made this past weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks and social distancing was not followed at bars where large crowds gathered. He said his administration will leave it up to local authorities to decide if any action is needed.

“What they decide to do on the local levels is up to them,” Parson said.

The governor said that Missourians have been responsible, for the most part, during the reopening process.

Lake visitors likely traveled from all over the state and beyond. Medical professionals said if infection occurred, it could be spread to several communities.

Department of Health and Human Services Director Dr. Randall Williams compared the lack of social distancing to a patient who stops taking a prescription sooner than the doctor advises.

“We don’t want the people to quit the prescription we’ve given them,” he said. “They need to go the full course, which is social distancing, no matter where you are.”

An employee at Backwater Jack’s, one of the businesses where a video shows a crowded pool, said patrons had their temperature taken as they entered. She said once capacity was met, they would only let someone in when someone left.

The pandemic has caused a lot of business to dry up. But two companies, Farm Foods and Nostrum Laboratories, have decided to expand in the state.

“Time will take care of COVID-19 but Missouri needs to be ready for business,” Parson said.

Meanwhile, the state is reporting 12,291 cases and 686 deaths associated with COVID-19.

During Tuesday’s news conference, Williams was asked about a change in the way testing has been reported in the state of Missouri. A new dashboard now reports separately two types of tests.

Williams said last week, Missouri did not combine PCR testing with serology testing when reporting testing numbers. He said other states had gotten into trouble for combining the two in an effort to inflate their numbers.

Williams said he was unaware his staff had been following CDC guidance when they combined the two types of tests when reporting data.

Tonight we sit down with Governor Mike Parson during Moving Forward: A Missouri Town Hall. We will talk about the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how the state is moving ahead.

FOX 2’s Vic Faust, and FOX 4’s John Holt will meet with Gov. Parson discuss to topics live from the third floor of his Governor’s mansion. Missouri Dept of Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven will also talk about returning to school, and sports. Mizzou Athletic Director Jim Sterk will also discuss the upcoming fall sports season. Dr. Alex Garza, Commander St. Louis Metropolitan pandemic Task Force force, will talk about the virus, medicines, and treatment and looking forward.

Do you have a question for the governor or one of our guests? You can send them to us at Or just fill out the form below.

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