A restaurant has copped a wave of backlash after hosting a crowded pool party for the Memorial Day long weekend in the US.
Video footage filmed on Saturday shows hundreds of people drinking and swimming at Backwater Jacks Bar & Grill at Osage Beach in Missouri while disregarding social distancing rules amid the coronavirus pandemic, St Louis station KMOV-TV reported.
The venue advertised the ‘Zero Ducks Given Pool Party’ on Facebook prior to the event, naming the featured DJs and claiming “extra precautions and safety measures” were taken to provide a safe environment.
Backwater Jacks said all attendees, which was limited, had their temperature taken at the entrance and bottles of hand sanitiser, as well as sanitising stations, were available. Paramedic staff were also present, the restaurant wrote online.
Earlier this month, the state’s government allowed restaurants to reopen for customers to dine inside, as long as they keep a safe distance between themselves and others.
A woman who told CNN she attended the party with four friends vouched for the restaurant’s safety precautions.
“They checked all of our temps and had thousands of little bottles of hand sanitiser!! They did a good job with what they had to work with!!” she said.
Hundreds of angry people have inundated the restaurant’s Facebook page, slamming the business for hosting such an event as the country nears 100,000 coronavirus deaths.
“Thanks for killing people and making Missouri a laughing stock,” one person wrote.
“What amazingly inconsiderate behaviour exhibited by the guests and the management. Enjoy the next lockdown,” another said.
Others simply called it “pathetic”.
Several hurt in shooting as Memorial Day crowds gather
The Memorial Day weekend marking the unofficial start of summer in the US meant big crowds at beaches and warnings from authorities about people disregarding the coronavirus social-distancing rules and risking a resurgence of COVID-19.
Sheriff's deputies and beach patrols tried to make sure people kept their distance from others as they soaked up the rays on the sand and at parks and other recreation sites around the country.
In Daytona Beach, Florida, gunfire erupted on Saturday night along a beachside road where more than 200 people had gathered and were seen partying and dancing despite the restrictions. Several people were wounded and taken to the hospital, authorities said.
In the Tampa area along Florida's Gulf Coast, the crowds were so large that authorities took the extraordinary step of closing parking lots because they were full.
Dr Deborah Birx, co-ordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said she was "very concerned" about scenes of people crowding together at the weekend.
"We really want to be clear all the time that social distancing is absolutely critical. And if you can't social distance and you're outside, you must wear a mask," she said on ABC talk show This Week.
Officials in California said most people were covering their faces and keep their distance even as they ventured to beaches and parks. Many southern California beaches were open only for swimming, running and other activities. Sunbathing and group activities such as volleyball were prohibited.
The US is on track to surpass 100,000 coronavirus deaths over the next day, while Europe has more than 169,000 dead, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, more than 5.4 million people have been infected and 344,000 have died.
The New York Times marked the horror by devoting Sunday's entire front page to a long list of names of those who have died in the United States. The headline: "An Incalculable Loss".
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump, who went golfing for the second day in a row after not playing for weeks, told Sinclair Television he was feeling fine after taking a two-week course of the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine, can have deadly side effects, and a zinc supplement.
Trump has spent weeks pushing the drug against the advice of many of his administration's top medical professionals.
The issue of wearing masks in public and staying apart has become fraught politically, with some Americans taking to the streets to protest such rules as a violation of their rights.
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