LAKE OF THE OZARKS, MO – The Sheriff’s Department in Camden County has responded to national criticism of apparent lax observation of health guidelines at Lake of the Ozarks, over Memorial Day Weekend.

Video and pictures showed tourists in tight-knit groups packing pools and lounges. Sheriff, Tony Helms, called it a “record weekend” in the Lake area, and indicated law enforcement was busy enough simply enforcing actual laws, and keeping order. He said, social distancing violations are not crimes, and the Sheriff’s office also has no legal authority in the matter. Helms said, the county’s tourism-driven economy, including area businesses, were attempting to follow guidelines from health departments, and those who frequented the lake must bear the responsibility, and right, to make decisions based on the assessment of any risks that may be involved with their actions.

He also said, “We need to trust, engage, and empower Missourians to continue health safety measures while adjustments to restrictions are (being) considered and … implemented.”