At the City Council meeting on Monday the Rolla City Council enacted an emergency ordinance that allows all businesses to open – a week earlier than previously in place.

Rolla’s original Stay at Home order was adopted on March 30, authorizing “essential activities” and distinguished between “essential and non-essential businesses.”

The newly adopted ordinance which takes effect immediately allows all businesses to resume operations with some restrictions.

Rolla Mayor Louis Magdits said in a release, “COVID-19 has had a significant impact on most business clusters but the tourism, entertainment and personal care services have been significantly impacted.”

The city’s new ordinance allows restaurants, bars and eating establishments to resume limited sit-down dining but encourages continued use of curb-side and delivery options. Bar seating is prohibited and 6 foot spacing is required between all dining and socializing areas. Personal care services, such as massage therapy, hairdressers, barbershops, and tanning and nail salons are allowed to resume services. 

Since 6 foot safe distancing is not feasible in most personal care services the employees and service providers are required to wear masks. Also, scheduled appointments are required and a limit of three people are allowed in lobby and waiting areas.  

“The intent of the city’s new ordinance is to maintain the health and safety of all citizens, especially the most vulnerable, while allowing all businesses to open safely,” Magdits said.

Specifically all businesses are required to:

— Maximize social distancing between employees, employees and customers, and customers.

— Provide hand-sanitizing stations for employees and customers at entrances and in high volume areas.

— Ensure frequent cleaning of high-traffic areas and high-touch items like doors, credit card machines.

— Run daily temperature and wellness checks on all employees.

— Develop a disease preparedness and response plan for employee health and customer contract-tracing.

Magdits said in a release today, “Despite the easing of restrictions the ordinance still emphasizes personal responsibility on citizens and businesses to maintain the safe distance practices and guidelines issued by the CDC to protect healthcare workers and first responders, to look out for our most vulnerable and at-risk populations, and to mitigate the risk of a resurgence this summer or fall when thousands of visitors and University students converge on the Community.”

“Rolla and Phelps County have been very fortunate to see very few cases of COVID-19, but that success was largely attributable to the personal responsibility of citizens to quarantine themselves and to only engage in essential activity. Similarly the wearing of masks has become much more commonplace -- all of these efforts help ensure a safe, vibrant community," he added. 

Return to Work Ordinance 

City administration has provided answers to questions on enforcement and requirements  under the return to work ordinance, which took effect today:

Why was this Ordinance issued?  

This order was issued to provide an opportunity for ALL businesses to resume safe operations while encouraging citizens to take personal responsibility of protecting themselves and the most vulnerable in our community (6’ safe spacing, encouraged to wear protect masks, limiting travel).  The primary objective of course is to limit the spread of the coronavirus in our community.

How long is the ordinance in effect?  

The revised order took effect at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 5, and will remain in effect through May 31.  The ordinance will be monitored on a daily basis for both compliance and impact.

What does the ordinance require?  

The ordinance encourages citizens to remain at their residence when possible but allows for all businesses to resume core operations.  The ordinance requires all citizens to maintain 6’ safe distancing in public and requires businesses to ensure 6’ safe distancing and sanitizing requirements between employees and customers.  

Are citizens allowed to move freely about the Community?  

Certainly, but residents are encouraged to stay home or to wear protective masks when venturing into public spaces – particularly citizens with compromised health issues.  Residents are encouraged to participate in outdoor activities, to work, to visit and care for family and friends, to attend church and community activities, and to conduct all manner of commerce – all while maintaining 6’ safe distancing.  

What is required of businesses to operate safely?  

All businesses and organizations are encouraged to resume reasonable activities provided CDC guidelines are maintained including the following: 

All business shall maintain at least 6’ separation between employees, employees and customers, and customers (including standing in line, lobbies, shopping aisles, etc.)

Provide hand-sanitizing stations at entrances and high volume places

Ensure frequent cleaning of high-touch items

Run daily temperature checks/screening of all employees

Develop a preparedness and response plan for employee safety and customer contact-tracing

What about restaurants, bars and food establishments?

Restaurants and food establishments are encouraged to continue curb-side pickup and delivery but may open for walk-in customers subject to the following restrictions:

Employees who serve customers are required to wear a protective mask

Tables and chairs must be at least 6’ apart (as if fully occupied)

Seating is limited to no more than 8 persons

Bar stools shall be removed; drinking and dining at tables only

Self-serve dining (buffets, salad bars, self-serve items) are not allowed (unless served by a designated server)

Can personal service businesses such as hairdressers, salons, massage therapy open for business?

Certainly so long as they ensure customer safety.   

Employees in direct contact with customers are required to wear a protective mask

Businesses shall operate with scheduled appointments only

Lobby areas are limited to no more than 3 persons with 6’ spacing

Any shared equipment shall be thoroughly sanitized between patron usage

Can general retail businesses and commercial establishments open for business?

Certainly and businesses are encouraged to do so with proper safety guidelines.  

Employees are not required to wear masks provided they can maintain at least 6’ separation from customers and co-workers.  Where employees cannot maintain 6’ separation masks or sneeze guard shields are required (i.e. cashiers, attendants, bank tellers, receptionist)  

Customer occupancy numbers will be determined by the Rolla Fire Department using the State’s guidelines (generally 10% of determined occupancy for businesses over 10,000 SF and 25% of determined occupancy for businesses under 10,000 SF)

Provide hand-sanitizing stations for employees and customers

Frequent sanitizing of high-touch areas (doors, credit card machines, touch screens)

Daily health screening/temperature reading of all employees

Can Churches return to public gatherings?

Yes provided they maintain 6’ separation in all directions.  Online services are encouraged for vulnerable members.

Can we resume social activities throughout the community?

Yes, all public and private gathering are allowed subject to occupancy restrictions and 6’ safe distancing at all times (limitations do not pertain to households/family members).

When will public playgrounds, Splash Zone, The Centre and other public spaces resume operations?

City parks, trails and open play areas remain open.  The City is anxious to make all public facilities accessible but will only do so when proper controls and sanitizing services are in place.  We anticipate resuming those public facilities as conditions allow.  

How will this ordinance be enforced?  

We are relying on the goodwill and common sense of residents and businesses to follow the ordinance. City Inspectors will make daily visits to businesses to educate and inform them on the new rules.  Intentional repeated violations may be subject to a misdemeanor violation.