Social distancing

Visitors required to sit 6-feet apart at the March 23 Seaside City Council meeting. City Hall will reopen for public meetings in June.

After the Seaside City Council passed a timetable for reopening hotels and lodging, the council looked at reopening city buildings, closed by emergency declaration since March due to the pandemic.

City Hall, the library, visitors bureau, public works department, fire department and police department will all present their own unique timetable, City Manager Mark Winstanley said at Wednesday’s special meeting. “I expect they’ll be able to open much like the hotel and motel properties, at different stages and different times.”

City Hall will reopen with new protective measures for staff, including plastic shields, Winstanley said.

The Bob Chisholm Community Center will have a different reopening schedule, he said, because of the more vulnerable population it serves.

The Seaside Civic and Convention Center will rely on state guidelines before reopening, he added.

The council unanimously approved a motion to allow reopening of city buildings at the discretion of the city manager.

Back to chambers

As buildings open, so will public meetings. The council also unanimously adopted a measure to bring back live board, commission and committee meetings in June, with social distancing measures in place.

Restrictions will limit the number of people in attendance, Winstanley said. “For the vast majority of meetings you won’t have any issues about the number of people in the room. For a city council meeting, we may have to limit the number of people in the room.” 

Whether electronic meetings are here to stay — and in what form — is still up in the air, Assistant City Manager Jon Rahl said. “We’ve entered a Zoom world,” he said.

As 100 viewers watched Wednesday’s meeting via Zoom, another 200 tuned in over YouTube live, Rahl said.

“This is one of the opportunities this situation has provided us, to try things in a different way,”  Councilor Tita Montero said. “It has really opened up all the meetings to anyone who wants to attend, who wants to watch, that can only provide a more informed citizenry.”

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