Seal Beach City Council will continue to conduct its meetings virtually to protect the health and safety of attendees in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Due to the pandemic, states of emergencies at both the state and countywide levels in California remain in effect, according to a city staff report (click the hyperlink to download the council agenda). The Seal Beach City Council voted unanimously late last month to continue to hold public meetings virtually to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The meetings will continue to be streamed in real time via teleconference for the public to be able to participate live.
“At the moment, given the current situation, although it’s improving, the city manager still recommends that the council consider meeting in this virtual setting with an eye toward coming back to an in-person setting as soon as it is safe to do so,” City Attorney Craig Steele said during the council meeting.
Westminster is continuing to hold meetings virtually. In Costa Mesa, in-person meetings began again on June 15 in a hybrid model where meetings are still viewable by Zoom.
However, some cities in the county have begun moving back to in-person, as well as hybrid formats for their meetings, including Laguna Beach, Santa Ana, Los Alamitos, Dana Point, and Irvine. Cities that allow limited in-person attendance also continue to offer teleconference options for residents who prefer to attend the meetings virtually.
According to the city staff report, throughout the pandemic, the Seal Beach City Council has been meeting remotely. Up until Sept. 30, remote council meetings were permitted in the state of California under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order that eased the rules of the Brown Act, the state’s open meetings law. Before the governor’s executive order expired, the state Legislature passed Assembly Bill 361, which became effective Oct. 1 and “continues to permit remote meetings during the proclaimed local emergency, if social distancing measures are required or recommended,” according to the city staff report.
The law requires the Seal Beach City Council — indeed all cities — to review the requirements every 30 days to determine whether in-person meetings would present imminent risks to the health and safety of the general public and the city staff, and consequently how meetings should be conducted to best accommodate the current conditions of the pandemic, as explained in the city staff report.
According to data collected from OCgov.com, transmission of the virus remains present across the county. Cal OSHA and other state authorities recommend that businesses and other entities in the state continue to practice social distancing, mask mandates, and other prevention methods against the spread of COVID-19.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Costa Mesa is still meeting virtually when the city resumed in-person meetings June 15 and meets now in a hybrid model where meetings are held in-person and by Zoom.