Council ends COVID restrictions 37 months after pandemic began

There will soon be no more restrictions on who can attend meetings held by Charlottesville city government. The city has remained one of the only localities in Virginia to still be holding some of its meetings electronically and restrict physical participation due to COVID-19. 

“Effective May 1, 2023, the following will go into effect,” said Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders. “The Clerk of Council will discontinue seat reservation procedures making the Council Chambers accessible to anyone.”

Community members will still be able to speak at Council and Planning Commissions meetings remotely. That hybrid status will also apply to meetings of the Planning Commission, the Board of Architectural Review, the Police Civilian Oversight Board, and the Human Rights Commission. 

“Announcements to the public would include that no food or drink is permitted in the Council Chambers,” Sanders said. “The Sergeant-at-arms will be in their assigned place during all meetings of Council. The City Manager and Clerk of Court will return to seats on the dais which has already started in our trial run today.” 

Those expecting the media to return to the gallery may be disappointed, as now Sanders and fellow Deputy City Manager Ashley Marshall will be seated there as will the City Attorney. Media representatives can sit on the back wall on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

All other meetings will be held in-person effective May 1. Council passed the resolution unanimously. 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the April 19, 2023 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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