The Park City City Council agreed to give in-person meetings a shot in May, COVID-19 pandemic and health orders permitting.
At Thursday evening’s council meeting Mayor Andy Beerman asked for a raise of hands from councilors to gauge interest in hosting an in-person meeting sometime in May. All hands went up.
The last in-person council meeting was March 9th of last year. 10 days later, after COVID-19 turned the world upside down, the first remote council meeting was held and it has been virtual ever since.
With vaccinations increasing across Utah and Summit County leading the state in per-capita vaccinations, it was inevitable that in-person city meetings would return eventually. Now, we know when.
It’s all tentative at the moment and dependent on how the pandemic plays out over the next month, but the city is hoping to return to council chambers for a hybrid meeting in May.
To start, only the council and city staff will be in-person, with the public continuing to participate virtually over Zoom and Facebook live.
If that goes well and the pandemic continues to improve, council chambers will be gradually opened back up to the public.
Despite the eventual transition back to in-person meetings, Councilor Nann Worel told KPCW the value of continuing virtual participation in city meetings is obvious.
“One thing the pandemic has taught us is that we needed to diversify the ways people could connect with us and communicate with us,” Worel said. “It’s long and hard to sit through long council meetings, especially if your agenda item that you’re interested in comes later on in the agenda. By allowing virtual participation, people can feed their kids dinner and they don’t have to hire a babysitter and they can listen in and really hone in when the item of interest comes to them. It gives us a great way to hear from people, as I’ve said, that don’t normally connect with us.”
Park City City Council meetings in May are tentatively scheduled for the 13th, 20th, and 27th. KPCW will have more information about in-person city meetings once it is released by city hall.