Video of Branson event shows lack of social distancing, face coverings despite order

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BRANSON, Mo. — Videos of a large indoor student experience in Branson are circulating on social media. The video shows hundreds of people inside the Branson Convention Center, most of those in attendance not wearing face masks.

The event, Extreme Winter, reopened on Tuesday, Dec. 29, at 10 a.m. It began with a sermon from a special guest, football star Tim Tebow, and it included a a concert by Lecrae, a Christian hip-hop artist.

Grace Daniels, an attendant of the sermon, said she was not afraid to be at Extreme Winter.

“I think the precautions they’re taking are very good, and we try to follow that as best as we can, but we’re not fearful of COVID,” Daniels said. “We have a greater God on our side.”

Extreme Winter’s website states groups will be seated in small pods with six feet of distance from other groups and masks will be mandatory when not seated.

Below is an excerpt from Branson’s masking ordinance:

“It is unlawful for any person operating a public space to allow any person in the public space who is not wearing a face-covering unless that person is exempted from it.”

Branson masking ordinance

Some exemptions include hearing impaired or a medical condition impacted by a face covering.

Andrew Dunn, other attendants to the Branson event, felt almost the same as Daniels about how Extreme Winter was handling COVID-19 precautions.

“I feel pretty comfortable here,” Dunn said.

Brylee Williams said COVID-19 precautions are being followed at Extreme Winter.

“Especially when you have, like masks, and you’re sitting with the people in your group that you’re around anyway, so I think it was safe,” Williams said.

Bailey Hinrichs, a member of the Courageous Church in Springfield, said the event is worth the risk.

“Like, we always take a risk when we go outside, but I mean, we feel God in this place, and I feel like we need to be here,” Hinrichs said.

The organizers of the event and city officials were asked for interviews, but both declined.

The health department said it hadn’t heard about the event.

Though the video shows many not wearing masks, there is no confirmation on if those people in the video met exemption requirements that the ordinance states.

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