After videos of crowded pool parties at Lake of the Ozarks went viral nationwide, St. Louis County health officials issued a request that “any person who has traveled and engaged in this behavior should self-quarantine for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result for COVID-19. As all current DPH guidance recommends that employers screen employees for health risks, employers should also consider adding a question related to recent travels and social distancing behaviors.” (The full advisory is at the end of this article.)
County Executive Dr. Sam Page said, “This reckless behavior endangers countless people and risks setting us back substantially from the progress we have made in slowing the spread of COVID-19. I encourage everyone to follow the Department of Public Health advisory to determine a safe path forward in the workplace.”
As well as advising employers to screen employees for health risks, county DPH now recommends employers should consider adding a question related to recent travels and social distancing behaviors.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson tells MSNBC the complete disregard for social distancing guidelines is serious.
“This kind of very risky behavior really – I’m sure it was fun at the time – but very risky behavior and then that’s going to go back not only to St. Louis, which of course we’re very concerned about, but probably to locations around the Midwest,” she says.
The state health director, Dr. Randall Williams issued a stern warning on Memorial Day:
“This Memorial Day, we caution that COVID-19 is still here, and social distancing needs to continue to prevent further spread of infections. Close contact with others even if you are in the outdoors is still considered close contact and can lead to more infections as we still have new cases of COVID-19 being detected each day in Missouri. The virus can be transmitted even among those young and healthy who aren’t experiencing symptoms. When they then carry the virus and transmit it to a more vulnerable person, this is when we tend to see the long-lasting and tragic impact of these decisions that are being made.”
It’s up to county health departments to enforce any state health guidelines, usually based on local complaints or reports.