Huntington Beach

In-person council meets coming

HUNTINGTON BEACH CIVIC CENTER (Orange County Tribune photo).

If you’re the kind of person who likes to see city council meetings in person, rather than on an electronic device, there’s good news, especially if you’re a resident of Huntington Beach.

At Monday’s meeting of the city council, City Manager Oliver Chi unveiled the proposed guidelines for going from virtual to in-person sessions.

“We’d like this to be the last virtual meeting,” he said. “Won’t that feel good?”

The changes come on the heels of two events: an earlier decision to move council meetings from the first and third Mondays of the month to the first and third Tuesdays, and the anticipated change of Orange County from the “orange” tier to the “yellow” tier for the coronavirus pandemic.

Moving to yellow – the least restrictive tier – clears the way for more in-person interaction in business and government. The California Department of Public Health went ahead on Tuesday and moved the OC to yellow, effective Wednesday.

The protocols submitted Monday – which met with no opposition from councilmembers – will require that anyone entering the council chambers will have to either wear a face covering, be fully vaccinated or have received a “negative” COVID-19 test result within either 24 or 48 hours previous, depending on the specific kind of test employed.

Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz, who had earlier declared his opposition to wearing a mask, said he would have himself tested to meet the protocol requirements.

The council chambers will be limited to 50 percent capacity, which – when allowing for 20 city staff members to be present – would limit audience seating to 50 people.

Chi reminded the council that, as of June 15, the state is expected to be completely “opened,” and that a revision of the council meeting protocols may be required at that time.

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