CAMDEN COUNTY, Mo. — Photos out of the Lake of the Ozarks showing people ignoring social distancing guidelines sparked outrage and debate over Memorial Day weekend.
Photos and videos posted online showed people of all ages huddled around swim-up bars and hanging out in large groups at businesses at bars in Osage Beach.
In some of the photos, you see a banner that reads: “Please practice social distancing – 6 feet apart”.
But one photo caused outrage for another reason.
A picture on social media showed Shady Gators, a bar at the Lake of the Ozarks. But if you look closer, you see what appears to be a Jim Beam banner with the phrase "COVID Nation" on it.
The image was shared on social media with people calling the banner insensitive.
But the 5 On Your Side Verify team did a reverse image search and found something different. A photo showing what appears to be the same banner, but with the phrase "Gator Nation" on it.
In a phone call with Shady Gators owner Jeremy Gorham, he confirmed the sign does, in fact, say "Gator Nation".
So we can verify the image, showing "COVID Nation" is false; a photoshopped version of this original.
As for the photos showing people ignoring social distancing, the social distancing order for the state of Missouri is in place until the end of the month.
When asked about crowds at his bar, Gorham said all customers had their temperature taken before they entered the bar, and some were turned away. He said they are using single-use utensils, and have social distancing signage and 30 hand sanitizing stations.
He said he believes Shady Gators took all the proper steps Governor Mike Parson asked businesses to take when coronavirus measures were loosened in the state.
More Lake of the Ozarks coverage:
- 'Poor choices were made at the lake' | Gov. Parson addresses viral Lake of the Ozarks photos
- Task force: Lake of the Ozarks parties can only make transmission rates 'go in one direction or stay flat'
- St. Louis mayor urges social distance rule breakers to self-quarantine after viral Lake of the Ozarks photos
- These people were among those at bars at Lake of the Ozarks, here's what they're saying
- 'Have fun and see you later' | Employer quarantines worker without pay after he parties at Lake of the Ozarks
- Viral Lake of the Ozarks photos prompt St. Louis County to issue travel advisory
- Camden County sheriff: Nothing illegal about Lake of the Ozarks parties
- Missouri health director's dire warning to partiers: 'COVID-19 is still here'
- Osage Beach mayor says social distancing an issue of personal responsibility after viral photos
- Memorial Day weekend crowds at Lake of the Ozarks appear to not be observing social distancing