As the tourism season of the lake comes into full swing, the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce wants visitors and local businesses alike to know that “We Are Open!”

As the tourism season of the lake comes into full swing, the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce wants visitors and local businesses alike to know that “We Are Open!” Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director K.C. Cloke says they have been receiving calls and emails from visitors constantly, asking if the lake is open during the national pandemic. With Missouri being one of the first states to begin the reopening phase, Cloke says they have been happy to invite visitors to come and enjoy the Lake of the Ozarks.

“Lots of visitors want to know what’s going on. People are wondering because to many, this is their favorite vacation spot,” Cloke said.

However, the Chamber isn’t just looking out for the tourists coming to the lake, but also the businesses stationed here that are preparing for the holiday weekend. In a press release sent by the Chamber early Monday, they said “As a business, if you need any assistance preparing for the holiday weekend whether it be signage, PPE supplies, or have other questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Lake Area Chamber. There are a variety of resources available and many great organizations working together to provide assistance to our businesses.”

Cloke says they are hoping for a big weekend and an even bigger summer as a whole. Though visitor numbers will be much different this season factoring in COVID-19 fears and concerns, she is still confident that the lake will see some return to normality.

This is especially true when looking at the latter half of the season, in the months of August-September. Cloke says that many of the events that normally would have kicked off the summer had to be postponed, which will skew visitor numbers toward the later months.

One of the biggest Chamber events is the annual Street Meet, which normally lands on the first weekend in May. COVID restrictions postponed the event until September 11-13. Cloke says they had over 400 vehicles already registered, and a majority have opted to transfer to the postponed September event instead of cancel. With this serving as just a single instance, Cloke says that the later months of summer are sure to be very exciting.

Overall, Cloke wants visitors and lake residents to remember social distancing requirements when enjoying the holiday weekend and the summer as a whole. Until virus fears have dissipated entirely, the need for safety at events is still a must.

“People are still cautious, but they are ready to come down to the lake,” Cloke said. “Whether it means coming now or waiting until September, we’re ready.”