Rolla City Council to hold special meeting, public hearing on new COVID-19 restrictions

Lori Amos
A sign in Rolla shows actions to take to slow the transmission of COVID-19.

In an announcement on Wednesday, Rolla City Administrator John Butz said the Rolla City Council will hold a special meeting and public hearing on new COVID-19 restrictions. 

According to Butz, the special meeting is in response to a significant rise in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Rolla and Phelps County, which has resulted in an appeal from Phelps Health and the Phelps Maries County Health Department for support from the community. 

The Rolla City Council will hold the special meeting and public hearing at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23, at the Rolla Public Schools Administration Building, 500 Forum Drive, Room 134.  

The meeting venue has been moved from Rolla City Hall to provide more safe-spacing for participants while broadcasting the meeting on Fidelity Channel 16 and YouTube.

According to Butz, since re-opening the community in May 2020, the city council has imposed few restrictions on individuals and businesses, relying more on health awareness and individual decisions to minimize the virus's spread.  

Even with the return of in-person schooling at Rolla Public Schools and Missouri University of Science and Technology, the city and county fared reasonably well this summer and autumn except for a few outbreaks and regretfully significant impacts at local nursing homes, according to Butz in a news release announcing the special meeting on Wednesday. 

Since late October, Butz said positive cases and hospitalizations had risen significantly, resulting in Phelps Health and the Phelps County Health Department's appeal for extraordinary support from the community.   

According to Butz, special precautions will be imposed at the upcoming public meeting at the Rolla Public Schools Administration Building, including limited and spaced seating, face coverings for all participants and overflow staging areas for citizens wishing to speak.  

Public comments will be limited to three minutes. Extra security will be present to maintain a peaceful exchange and to allow everyone an opportunity to be heard, Butz said. 

Additionally, no weapons will be allowed in the building since it is a school facility.

The special meeting comes after Mayor Louis Magdits announced the appointment of a COVID-19 Task Force to explore more aggressive mitigation measures that could include mandatory facial coverings and occupancy restrictions on businesses, special events and public or private gatherings.