Rolla city staff are enacting protocols to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and are now requesting that residents practice social distancing and limit close physical interaction with police officers, firefighters and other city employees.

The Rolla City Council in a release on Wednesday further urged residents to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and limit public and private events and gatherings to 50 people.

The council recommends that citizens who are at higher risk for developing severe symptoms from COVID-19 limit public and private events and gatherings to 10 people.

The CDC states that adults 65 years or older, people with asthma and people with serious underlying medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Staff asks residents to conduct city business online, by email or by phone when possible, since most city facilities and services must remain open per the CDC. However, access and procedures could change quickly if there is a confirmed case in Phelps County, city officials said.

City officials said they are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to make vital decisions with guidance from the CDC, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and local public health agencies.

Rolla Parks and Recreation Department is also restricting use and closing some facilities to the public for “a period of time” due to concerns with the coronavirus as it has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, Parks and Recreation Director Floyd Jernigan said in a release on Wednesday.

Jernigan said the department is following the recommendations from the CDC, DHSS and the Phelps-Maries County Health Department to curtail public gatherings and utilize social distancing.

Jernigan said the city won’t be offering additional rentals for park pavilions and the Eugene Northern Community Hall until at least Monday, April 6.

Ballfields won’t be available until at least April 6 for scheduling practices or games. Rolla’s parks and recreation bathrooms also won’t be open until at least April 6, and parks programming will not begin until at least that time, Jernigan said.

The city’s parks and trails will remain open, Jernigan said, as the “continuing situation is being reviewed daily, and any decision to extend the time period beyond April 6 is expected to be reviewed by March 30.”

“During this period of concern, we ask that all park goers and recreational facility patrons use additional precautions to protect their health and safety and that of those around them,” Jernigan said.

Meanwhile, many events that were scheduled to be held in the city’s parks by outside groups are being canceled or rescheduled. Jernigan said, before attending, residents should check with the organizing group to confirm.

"The city will continually monitor the fluid conditions surrounding the coronavirus and re-examine our operations of these facilities when the safety and wellbeing of our visitors, as well as staff, are determined to be appropriate," Jernigan said.

Jernigan said citizens can contact the Rolla Parks and Recreation Department at (573) 426-6901 or visit the department’s website at www.rollamoparks.org for more information.

For a more detailed explanation of the impact of COVID-19 on all city operations, citizens can visit www.rollacity.org.