Rolla petitioners are calling for Rolla Mayor Louis Magdits to enact a local state of emergency to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019, with plans to present the petition tonight, at the Rolla City Council's special meeting.

The online petition urges Mayor Magdits to enact a local state of emergency, citing housing concerns for the community's at-risk population amid the spread of novel coronavirus. 

The petition begins, "Rather than react, let's be proactive and prevent the spread of COVID-19 while Rolla still has time. Rural US areas are expected to have a spike in COVID-19 cases by mid-April. Missouri, in general, is already experiencing a public health crisis."

Petitioners add that COVID-19 continues to impact poor and working-class community members only exacerbating the state of emergency they already endure every day. 

“Let this highlight that food insecurity, homelessness, and health crises existed long before COVID-19 and that we must take action now as well as in the future to protect our communities," the petition states.

The petition launched on Change.org has nearly 200 signatures by residents, petitioner Tara Miller stated in an email today.

Miller stated that she and Rolla City Council Ward 6 candidate Deanne Lyons have attended online KC Tenants meetings with concerned lawyers and citizens across Missouri and the coalition has been working with COVID-19 citizens' response to the lack of government insight.

The petition lays out a strategy to provide shelter, utilities and sanitation for all of Rolla's residents including the at-risk homeless population, Miller stated. 

Rolla City Councilor David Schott will present the petition at the council's special meeting at 5:30 p.m, she stated.

The meeting will be broadcast live on Fidelity Channel 16.   

Residents can view the entire petition at https://www.change.org/p/mayor-lou-magdits-enact-a-local-sate-of-emergency-for-rolla-mo-to-prevent-the-spread-of-covid-19.