“I want to dispel the notion that maybe our city has not been responsive to the COVID pandemic,” City Attorney Chris Rohrer told the board.

The impact of COVID-19 was evident at a recent Lake Ozark Board of Aldermen meeting.

Not only were masks required for staff and visitors, but social distancing was in place as seats were reserved for individuals on the agenda. Staff and aldermen were seated accordingly to encourage safe distancing.

“I want to dispel the notion that maybe our city has not been responsive to the COVID pandemic,” City Attorney Chris Rohrer told the board. 

He offered several examples of what the city has done.

•Since the beginning of the crisis, the staff and board have sat through various webinars offered by the CDC and Missouri Municipal League outlining suggested protocol

•The city has been in regular contact with the Miller County Health Center regarding updated safety protocol

•The city has posted signs and banners in the business district encouraging business owners and residents to take note of health department recommendations

•The business community has done an outstanding job of following various local, state and CDC recommendations

•The city been responsive to the safety and health of visitors and citizens

•Because the city can continue to offer some of its traditional activities and events is a credit to the staff and business leaders which have taken the recommendations seriously

“I want to let everyone know that we have from the beginning been on top of these issues,” Rohrer said “The fact that we’re still having some larger events is a credit to everyone associated with the city, and it is not an indication that we don’t care and are blind to the issues.”

Some of the larger communities have expressed concern about the activities taking place here and what the city has done, he noted. However, he said, the crowds the lake area has been experiencing are because those larger communities have not taken the level of precaution that the city has and have not offered activities and alternatives for their residents to feel safe, Rohrer said.

Mayor Gerry Murawski lauded the health departments in Miller, Camden and Morgan counties for providing guidance through the COVID pandemic. The health officials have been invited to meet with bar and restaurant owners in establishing safe protocol.

“Down here at the lake we have taken precautions,” he emphasized. “There are some precautions being done behind the scenes such as sanitizing and temperatures being taken that you don’t see in a picture or a media clip.”

Meet and Greet

The annual Lake Shootout Meet and Greet will be held on The Strip Wednesday, Aug. 26, and special COVID-19 precautions will be in place as well. 

The city installed six hand sanitizing stations in March, and recently added six more. Signage will also be in place to encourage personal responsibility and social distancing.

The board approved a Special Event Permit and Open Container allowance for the event, but questioned Shootout organizer Ron Duggan about the health precautions his group planned.

“I do have some reservations about approving events with large crowds,” Alderman Judy Neels said, adding that she isn’t opposed to any of the events but wants everyone to ensure public safety. “I just hope organizers of events and the public take necessary precautions and try to be safe. We want to continue to have those events, but we need to keep the safety of our citizens and visitors in mind.”

Duggan outlined several precautions that will be in place including making masks available, offering hand sanitizer to visitors and encouraging social distancing.

“Believe me, we’re doing everything we can possibly do to make it a safe environment,” he explained. “But there has to be some personal responsibility in place as well.”