Boulder City Council meetings will remain virtual for the foreseeable future.
The City Council postponed its previously planned return to hybrid meetings — wherein the public could return to council chambers — after Boulder County moved into the medium level of community risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines.
Based on the current Boulder County Public Health data, at roughly 350 cases per 100,000, the county has moved into medium, or yellow, level of community risk, according to Deputy City Manager Chris Meschuk.
Additionally, several City Council and staff members contracted the virus after gathering on May 3.
In a brief discussion Tuesday, the City Council majority agreed that remaining fully virtual makes the most sense for the time being.
“For me, it’s better to see people’s faces on council than it is to be masked where we can’t see each other’s thoughts, feelings and emotions except our eyes,” Councilmember Tara Winer said. “So I am going to say that I’d rather it be virtual. I know it’s hard on the public, but it’s definitely safer.”
“As somebody who got COVID in this last round and has still not recovered from it almost three weeks later, I’ll go with (remaining virtual) to avoid any transmission there,” Mayor Aaron Brockett agreed.
Several City Council members said they’d like to reconsider again before returning from summer recess in mid-July.
If and when the City Council does choose to return to in-person meetings, Councilmember Junie Joseph suggested installing plastic barriers between the council members instead of requiring masks. Doing so would help address Winer’s concerns.
While the City Council has the ultimate say over whether it will meet in-person when Boulder County is in the medium or high community risk level, Boulder has developed a chart outlining how city departments will operate in the various community risk levels.
“Under this medium level, our office-based workers move into kind of a hybrid optional posture,” Meschuk said. “Our facilities will remain open to the public. All of our customer-service centers are still open and available, but we’ll have less staff in the facilities, more staff working from home.”
The city noted individual facility closures may occur because of localized outbreaks or insufficient staff capacity.
Under the medium risk level, any city-sponsored community engagement events will be conducted virtually or outdoors.
Indoor masking is required for unvaccinated people and recommended for others.
Boulder Daily Camera
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