CHICAGO (CBS) — After presiding over City Council meetings over Zoom for the past year, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday it is her “sincere hope that we will be back in-person” for the next monthly meeting in April.
For now, the next City Council meeting on April 21 is tentatively scheduled to be held remotely, but if the Chicago Department of Public Health determines before then that it is safe to hold an in-person meeting, it will be held “at a location to be determined that can safely accommodate a City Council meeting,” according to the city clerk’s office.READ MORE: COVID In Illinois: 2,765 New Cases, 28 Additional Deaths
“It is my sincere hope that we will be back in-person at the April meeting,” Lightfoot told aldermen at the end of Wednesday’s meeting.
The mayor said her office will hold briefings with aldermen in the coming days to discuss specific plans for how meetings will be held to allow for proper social distancing and other safety measures to protect against the spread of COVID-19.
“Of course, there will be an opportunity for those who have a need to remain remote to participate remotely. So it will by a hybrid proposal that will be presented to you,” Lightfoot said.
The mayor’s announcement prompted a shout of “Bravo!” from at least one alderman.
Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) clearly is among City Council members eager to resume in-person meetings.
During Wednesday’s virtual City Council meeting, Lopez tweeted a picture of himself sitting at his computer in his office, with the caption, “As much as I like my office, I hope this is the LAST meeting we have like this.”
As much as I like my office, I hope this is the LAST meeting we have like this pic.twitter.com/Q7PaiOXTS0READ MORE: Chicago Undercover Police Officer, Sergeant Honored For 'High Level Of Professionalism'
— Ald. Raymond Lopez (@RLopez15thWard) March 24, 2021
The announcement came after a dozen members of the City Council introduced a resolution calling for the Committee on Rules “to discuss the means by which City Council can safely and fairly engage in regular business going forward before any in-person meetings of City Council or Committees resume.”
The resolution also says all future City Council and committee meetings should include an option for City Council members, staff, and the public to participate remotely if they can’t attend in-person due to a COVID-19 issue.
The mayor first suggested last month that City Council meetings could resume in-person in April, noting she’s already been fully vaccinated, and shots have been made available to every alderman.
The mayor has said the city is making arrangements to get staffers at the City Clerk’s office vaccinated before resuming in-person meetings.
Lightfoot said any plan for resuming in-person meetings will include accommodations for the public to participate in person as well. The mayor said the city’s Department of Assets, Information and Services is making plans to maintain social distancing inside the City Council Chambers when in-person meetings do resume.
However, the resolution said aldermen haven’t been “consulted or engaged in any discussions regarding how we may safely resume in-person meetings in a way that will allow for medically compromised members of Council, staff and the public to participate in a way that does not harm or exclude them.”MORE NEWS: Naperville District 203 Among Suburban High Schools Dealing With Spikes In COVID-19
“It is the duty of each member of City Council and the Mayor to ensure the fair and equal access to members and the public for all City Council meetings,” the resolution states.