At a relatively uneventful City Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 14, the five members of the council got into the Valentine’s Day spirit by not falling into a controversial debate. The meeting went by with an uncharacteristic lack of drama in comparison to recent months. Action Item 3 saw the council discuss whether to return to inperson council meetings starting with the next meeting on Monday, Feb. 28. The item on the agenda read: “(1) Discussion of whether to return to in-person city council, commission, board, and committee meetings and whether to require COVID-19 vaccination verification for in-person attendance at such meetings; or (2) adoption of a resolution to continue the ability to hold telecon-ference meetings for city council and all city commissions, boards and committees, as required by AB361 every 30 days, during the COVID-19 proclaimed local emergency and California state of emergency; and (3) provide other direction to the city manager if deemed appropriate.”
Assistant City Manager Jesse Mays referred to a staff report when stating that city staff are advising that in-person meetings can commence on Feb. 28, with everyone in attendance wearing masks. He said that a hybrid model, with people able to continue logging in remotely, is possible. Mays added that staff is not advising that vaccinations should be mandated. However, all five members of the council said that they still felt uncomfortable with resuming full in-person meetings. Council Member Göran Eriksson said, “Until the county drops the mask mandate, I think we should stay remote.” Council Member Yasmine- Imani McMorrin pointed out that indoor venues such as restaurants and bars require proof of vaccination, and Mayor Daniel Lee added that he himself is immunocompromised and is sensitive to the many people in the community who are as well. Council Member Alex Fisch said that he would like to see the numbers come down further before risking staff and the public. The council was in full agreement and voted unanimously to keep the meetings fully remote for now and will revisit the issue in 30 days.