Backwater Jack's owner stands by decision to open for Memorial Day weekend

Business was featured in viral social media video
Posted at 10:22 PM, May 26, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The owner of the Lake of the Ozarks establishment that was featured in viral social media posts over Memorial Day weekend said he stands by the “decision to move forward” with its holiday plans.

Video showed patrons of Backwater Jack’s in close proximity to one another, in a swimming pool and not wearing masks.

Gary Prewitt said in a Facebook post that “no laws were broken” over the course of the weekend, referencing the Camden County Sheriff’s Office statement that social distancing is not a crime.

“We understand that there are many emotions and feelings involved on every side of the pandemic situation… We stand by our decision to move forward with Memorial Day weekend plans,” Prewitt said in the post. “We love our customers and will continue to do our best to provide delicious food, drink and entertainment at Backwater Jack’s.”

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He also noted that “non-contact thermal checks” were conducted by medical staff and anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher was not allowed into Backwater Jack’s. Hand sanitizer also was provided.

Following the video's circulation on social media, St. Louis County and the state of Kansas have recommended that those who visited the Lake of the Ozarks and did not adhere to social distancing guidelines self-quarantine for 14 days.