More people spending time at LOTO among COVID pandemic.

Cory and Cris Marshall decided to purchase a condo at Lake of the Ozarks in May when they grew “tired of staring at the same walls” during lockdown. Living in Eureka full-time, once COVID-19 hit they started to reevaluate their lifestyle. They are not the only ones.
After weeks of solidarity, many families have made more of a transition from city-life to Lake life. With the move to working from home, summer vacations being canceled and kids’ activities postponed, some people found Lake of the Ozarks was their great escape. That’s exactly what the Marshalls decided to do.
“We’ve been hearing about how things might get rough with COVID and a second wave this winter with cold and flu season, so we figured that we can come to the Lake for a week or so and ‘work from home’ at the Lake,” Cory said. The first few weeks in their new condo was spent painting, fixing it up and replacing furniture (when they weren’t relaxing and having fun on the Lake).
Local realtors say this is a story they’ve heard time and time again as more people invest in second homes or have decided to make the move to full-time Lake living, at least for now.
Tourism officials are reporting an increase in traffic and local school districts say they are fielding questions about enrollment from second homeowners.
“We have had several inquiries from second homeowners regarding enrolling students in our district,” Camdenton R-III School District Superintendent Tim Hadfield said.
“The central location of the Lake of the Ozarks lends for increased visitation as a drive market,” Tim Jacobsen, Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau Executive Director, said. “During the COVID pandemic families less likely to take a flight or a cruise were more likely to select a drive, and the Lake is a natural destination. The Lake offers such great outdoor activities with boating, golfing and hiking that families are more comfortable with during the COVID pandemic. In addition, the number of people enjoying their second homes at the Lake during the COVID pandemic has also created an increase in traffic this summer.”
Many second homeowners who used to consider themselves “weekenders” are staying longer, sometimes weeks at a time.
“We bought a cabin here last fall. My husband and I both work remotely and travel some for work. Once COVID hit, our travel stopped and we’ve been here with just a couple trips back home to Kansas City,” Gravois Mills resident Centry Shell said. “Our grown children have been coming down here every couple weeks to escape the craziness as well. We feel safe and have been able to take full advantage of social distancing here. We were so lucky to purchase when we did and look forward to spending most of our time here moving forward.”
Jim and Wendy Poulsen have owned their second home at the Lake for the past 11 years but found themselves spending more time at their second home over the past couple of months. When Wendy’s employer closed the doors to all non-essential workers mid-March, she started working from home. At the same time, their kids’ school moved to online only. The couple had always planned to move to the Lake when they retire and saw this as the perfect opportunity to try Lake living full-time. Wendy set up an office in their bedroom while Jim began home renovation projects.
They’ve found living at the Lake offers the opportunity to get outside, go for walks, hikes and late-afternoon boat rides — many things you would not be able to do in the city.
“Not having to drive to work has provided at least an extra hour a day to enjoy these activities,” Wendy said. “We have especially enjoyed not having to do the dreaded drive home on Sunday and get to stay out on the boat until early evening with fellow boating friends who already live at the Lake full-time.”