"Social distancing is not a crime and therefore the sheriff's office has no authority to enforce actions in that regard. We expect residents and visitors alike to exhibit personal responsibility when at the lake."
Camden County Sheriff Tony Helms has released a letter to the public, regarding the weekend activities at the lake and the requirements of social distancing. It reads as follows:
"This has been a record weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks in the middle of a unique situation. Given the huge influx of people, the Camden County Sheriff's Office has been busy keeping order.It is the responsibility of my office to enforce laws that we have to duly enforce.
Camden County is a tourism-driven economy and each business owner is working hard to follow the state's guidelines and protect their patrons and staff. Those who frequented the businesses, bars, and restaurants at the lake this weekend made a conscious decision to attend each event and frequent each location.It was the right and responsibility of each individual who made those decisions to access the risks inherent to those decisions.
The Department of Health and the State of Missouri have eased restrictions and issued guidelines, which include social distancing. 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. Social distancing is not a crime and therefore the sheriff's office has no authority to enforce actions in that regard. We expect residents and visitors alike to exhibit personal responsibility when at the lake. 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. This includes persons who are at risk and their decision to stay out of the public and away from inherent dangers. We need to trust, engage, and empower Missourians to continue health safety measures while adjustments to restrictions are considered and being implemented."
-Sheriff Tony Helms