LAKE OF THE OZARKS - The Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a three day Mardi Gras Pub Crawl this weekend. 

Sixteen local bars and restaurants will be participating in the pub crawl over a span of three days. Traditionally, the pub crawl has just been hosted on one night, however, the pandemic forced the Chamber of Commerce to make some changes. 

Another change this year-- there will not be shuttles between the restaurants. People are expected to provide their own transportation through ride share apps, taxis, designated drivers, etc. 

K.C. Cloke, the Executive Director of the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, said she is not sure how the crowds are going to look. She said they have not put extra COVID-19 protocols in place. 

“Our community has not taken on extra additional mandates over and above what the state has required,” Cloke said. “I will say, many of our venues still encourage the face masks, and you're going to see that. I mean you're not going to see just everyone walking around.”

This event comes after the lake received national attention from massive Memorial Day weekend parties last year. The weekend prompted St. Louis County to issue a travel advisory and the Kansas City health director to call for self-quarantine, according to NBC News.

Cloke said they decided to host the event again this year to support local businesses. 

“February brings over a million dollars of revenue to our community which is not easily made up in any other way,” Cloke said. “It's from not only them participating by purchasing a wristband... it's also their entire stay here at the lake.”

Derrick Dietrick is the operation manager at Dam Good Slice, a restaurant participating in the Pub Crawl. He said he is expecting a good turnout. 

“This year, it's a little tricky, but I'm still thinking we're gonna have a pretty good turnout. So I mean, I would say up to like 5,000 people,” Dietrick said. “We're just going to play it by ear and hope for the best.”

Dietrick said even though the lake is pretty open when it comes to COVID-19 precautions, people should still try to social distance and use hand sanitizer. 

“We have a lot of seating and space at our bar to where we can kind of accommodate that 6 foot spacing in the distance and all that stuff as well,” he said. “So nothing too major on precautions, but do what you can as an individual.”

Another pub crawl participant said the safety of the event will be up to the people themselves.

"I expect a lot of people, " Desiree Cawthon said. "Social distancing, that is going to be up to people's discretion how they do things. I know I watch because I have to go back and run a business."

Michael Harmison, a co-owner of Harmy’s Cheese Store, said he is excited for his restaurant to participate in the Pub Crawl for the first time this year. 

“The pub crawl is something that they were worried about with the COVID restrictions and how well it would go,”  Harmison said. “So we thought we would offer a little support, got our name out of there.”

The Lake Pub Crawl is using an app as a passport, replacing wristbands this year, to identify participants.

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