Lake expects larger-than-usual crowd for holiday weekend
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - With Memorial Day just around the corner, the Lake of the Ozarks is preparing ahead for many Missouri residents making their way down.
This is the time of the year where you trade those car keys in for boat keys. It's the typical beginning of the tourism season, but this isn't your typical year.
Dog Days Bar & Grill General Manager Luke Hagedorn said this is a new territory for himself and the business.
“We have prepared, we have educated ourselves, we have educated our staff," Hagedorn said." Now, it’s time to educate the customers when they come in and that could be a challenge because people are going to come in with different expectations.”
Hagedorn said this season was a little bit more challenging as most of the usual staff consists of college students, but that changed because of the pandemic.
"They come down and train in the spring and they get ready to go for the season," Hagedorn said. "This year they were out of school and they were ready to work, but we couldn't do anything with them and couldn't train."
Hagedorn said he still has an experienced staff coming back this year and is going to lean on it more.
While staffing might have been a challenge for Hagedorn, he said people are calling and sending messages through social media. He said many people ask if Dog Days will be open up for the weekend. Hagedorn said he is happy to say yes. While people are welcome to come in, there will be a few changes this weekend.
"We're going to take advantage of our outdoor space. We moved tables to areas we don't normally have tables in, to kind of really take advantage of our space," Hagedorn said. "We have some great bands that are going to play outside. Like I said, they're excited to play poolside. They've always wanted to play poolside."
Over at the Camden on the Lake Resort, marketing director Nicole Torres said this year has a been a record-setting number for them.
"We are expecting a very busy weekend," Torres said. "We are completely sold out of rooms this Saturday."
Torres said she was not shocked by the amount of people planning to come down.
"We just think people are ready to get out and have some fun. We will be providing them with a very safe environment to do so," Torres said.
There are safety guidelines laid out for the resort, making sure people stay as safe as possible in the pandemic.
"In our restaurant, we will be seating people at every other table to ensure that they're separated far enough. We've got security throughout the entire property to help remind people to respect each other with social distancing in the pool area," Torres said.
She said there will also be extra space laid out for the entertainment venue.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, both businesses said they are prepared with safety guidelines put in place for the holiday weekend.