Elkins Returning to In-Person Meetings
Council Meetings will be held at Phil Gainer Community Center
Elkins, W. Va., February 24, 2021: Elkins Common Council and its committees will return to in-person meetings March 1, Mayor Van Broughton ordered last week. Committee meetings will be held in council chambers, while council meetings—including when council convenes as the Board of Canvassers following the March 2 city election—will be held at the Phil Gainer Community Center.
“We can hold committee meetings in council chambers because, with only three council members and some city staff members, there will be enough room for people to spread out,” said Broughton. “We’re moving council meetings to the Phil Gainer Center because there just isn’t room in council chambers for social distancing between ten council members and a half dozen city employees.”
The mayor’s order prohibited attendance by anyone currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, having tested positive for the COVID-19 virus within fourteen days of the meeting, or residing in a household with anyone in any of these categories. Attendees will be required to sign in, provide contact information, and affirm that they are in compliance with these requirements.
The mayor also listed safety precautions that councilors, city staff, and audience members will be asked to follow at in-person council and committee meetings.
- Face coverings must be worn by all persons at all times, except when speaking. Speakers must be six feet or separated by a partition from other persons.
- Audience members who do not reside in the same household must maintain a six-foot distance from each other.
- To enable appropriate distancing, a maximum capacity will be enforced for both council chambers and the Phil Gainer Center. (The number will depend on how many attendees are from the same household and so cannot be posted in advance.)
The mayor says he believes returning to in-person meetings with these precautions in place achieves the necessary balance of safety and openness.
“As mayor, I take my responsibility to the citizens, to city employees, and to [council] very seriously,” said Broughton, in his order. “This includes protection of health and safety along with operation of a transparent government. I have continued to work with the administrative officers in evaluating our local pandemic-related health conditions and balancing that with our duty as elected officials. I am confident we have made the right decisions so far and that we will continue to make good decisions moving forward.”