Knolls Resort is one of many sold-out accommodations as Missourians opt for taking vacations within driving distance rather than flying. “I’ve had people that are calling saying, ‘We were going to go to Florida, but now we’ve just decided to try to do something closer to home,’” said Steve Peer, assistant manager for reservations at Your Lake Vacation, which manages Knolls and other properties around the Lake of the Ozarks.
The summer’s biggest holiday weekend is approaching as some states that were previously lax with restrictions are tightening the reins. Florida’s Miami-Dade County, for example, closed Miami beaches and parks in preparation. In Missouri, the memory of Memorial Day is on some people’s minds. That day, crowds.
After Memorial Day weekend, officials in St. Louis County, Missouri, and Kansas, both home to many of the vacationers, urged those returning to self-quarantine. A smattering of coronavirus cases was reported in June among people who had been to the lake on the holiday weekend, but no major clusters.
Still, Chris Prener, a St. Louis University sociologist who has been tracking the state’s Covid-19 numbers, says the state’s limited contact tracing and the lags in reporting make it hard to identify or deal with outbreaks that may arise.
“If there were to be a spike in cases because of July Fourth,” he said, “we’re not going to know until it’s well past the point where we could meaningfully do anything about it.”
Gov. Mike L. Parson said last week that he was not planning on imposing new restrictions in the state. “Overall, Missouri is still in a good place,” he wrote on Twitter. “We constantly monitor the data across the state, and our positive rate continues to decline. Missouri is recovering, and we are moving forward.” Since then, the state has set a new record for the most cases it has reported in a day.
Mr. Parson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The mayor of Osage Beach, John Olivarri, and the public health director for Missouri, Dr. Randall W. Williams, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.