Medical professionals urge Rolla to adopt a mask mandate

Dr. Rachelle Gorell speaking to the Rolla City Council on Monday, November 16, 2020.  Gorell oversees the COVID-19 screening at Phelps Health and works as the medical director for the St. James Veterans Home.

Photo courtesy of Phelps County Focus

The City of Rolla is now considering a new ordinance requiring face masks in public settings.

The Phelps County Focus reports Mayor Louis Magdits announced the city is still working on the ordinance, but plans to share it with the public next Monday during a special meeting. 

Magdits says the driving force behind a possible mask ordinance is rising COVID-19 cases in Phelps County.  As of Monday the county reported 480 active cases, 35 deaths, and more than 400 local students in quarantine. 

The Focus reports Dr. Rachelle Gorrell from Phelps Health spoke last night, saying health care workers aren’t asking for a business shut down, but a mask mandate and a limit on large public gatherings.  She says residents aren’t picking up the virus by walking through a store, but by attending large gatherings where social distancing isn’t practiced, like funerals and weddings. 

But such a mandate is expected to receive opposition.  Rolla city council members say they’ve already heard from constituents who strongly oppose a local mask mandate.