Pandemic compresses prep time for Lake of the Ozarks resorts this Memorial Day weekend

Posted at 12:00 PM, May 22, 2020

SUNRISE BEACH, Mo. — When the pandemic struck, some resorts at the Lake of the Ozarks closed. But now as Missouri reopens, guests who once canceled have rebooked and resorts are rushing on the finishing touches for the Memorial Day weekend.

Bear Bottom Resort puts on one of the largest fireworks displays at the Lake of the Ozarks.

"They're shot off of that ridge top over there, again, this is going to work wonderfully with what makes you comfortable," Matt Sutcliffe, the resort's owner said.

Sutcliffe also touts their two waterslides, at over 700 feet, their the longest in Missouri.

"There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into bringing those from mothballed and sleeping mode," Sutcliffe said. "We have an annual inspection that has to happen and if there are any deficiencies, those have to be corrected, and we won't open until we're 100% prepared and ready to do that."

All the work came to a screeching halt when the state's stay-at-home order went into effect.

"It has compressed our prep time, you know, we didn't have employees here doing work, preparing the property to come out of sleepy mode into summertime mode until about three weeks ago, so it's been a race," Sutcliffe said.

The resort, which is sold out for the holiday weekend, has removed tables and chairs to help its guests practice social distancing.

"Some of them come in, and they're okay with dining on the property. Some of them want to place food orders to go. And if they do, we deliver them right here at the dock and then out they can go," Sutcliffe said.

Besides constant updates from public health officials, the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is helping businesses obtain personal protective equipment.

"It's really up to individual responsibility to maintain or enjoy the properties but still follow the rules that they feel comfortable with, and we're not here to police them," Sutcliffe said.