ST. LOUIS ( -- Saying they took necessary precautions, Backwater Jacks in the Lake of the Ozarks defended their decision to host a party in which videos posted to social media showed large crowds and little social distancing.

In a letter posted to their social media and sent to news outlets, Gary Prewitt, the bar's owner, said temperatures were taken at the door and anyone with over a 100.4 was not allowed into the party. Everyone also had access to a personal bottle of hand sanitizer. 

"Unfortunately, our business is seasonal and nearly a third of our season has already been lost," Prewitt wrote. "The initial shut down has already had a tremendous impact on many of our staff and their families. All staff were given a choice of whether they wanted to work without any negative consequences if they chose not to."

“I wasn’t even worried about COVID,” Tyler Crancer of Fenton said Tuesday. “I was just there to have a good time.”

Crancer was one of the many people in the crowd at Backwater Jack’s Bar and Grill Saturday. Images and videos posted on social media quickly went viral.

“I didn't expect it to be such a big party, I didn't even know they were having a big party and when we got there it was a good time,” Crancer said. “There's just people everywhere; loud music, it's just a great time. Nobody is doing anything too stupid. It's just a great time, great party.”

The video prompted St. Louis County to issue a travel advisory.

“If you were in a crowd, or shoulder-to-shoulder with people that you didn't know then you should self-quarantine when you return to St. Louis County,” Dr. Sam Page advised.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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