Bloomington City Council and commission meetings will once again be held virtually due to the increase in COVID-19 infections.

“I consulted with the city’s mayor, chief legal counsel and public health administrator regarding the current status of COVID-19 in Minnesota and have found it is difficult or impossible for city officials, city staff and the public to comply with public health guidance following a possible exposure, infection or related matters while safely carrying out official duties,” City Manager Jamie Verbrugge said in the announcement.

According to the city’s announcement, as of Nov. 15, Minnesota had the country’s worst COVID-19 infection rate with 490 new cases per 100,000 people over the previous seven days, and Minnesota’s COVID-19 death toll has eclipsed 9,000 people. On Nov. 16, the Minnesota Department of Health reported 51 new deaths, which raises the state’s pandemic total to 9,047. With 10,913 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the state’s pandemic total rose to 857,791.

The City Council, Planning Commission, Charter Commission, Human Rights Commission, Parks Arts and Recreation Commission, Merit Board, Creative Placemaking Commission, Sustainability Commission, Advisory Board of Health, Board of Review, Earned Sick and Safe Leave Task Force and any other commission, task force, committee or subgroup appointed by the City Council or any of the aforementioned bodies to conduct in-person meetings will not meet in person.

Meetings will be conducted by telephone or interactive technology, such as WebEx. State statute authorizes cities to meet by telephone or interactive technology if it is determined that meeting in person is not practical or prudent because of a health pandemic, the announcement noted.

During previous virtual City Council meetings, the mayor and city manager have often participated from the council chambers of Bloomington Civic Plaza, while other council members, city staff and guest speakers have participated by video conference or telephone. Public comments during those meetings were accepted by telephone.

At least one member of the commissions, the chief administrative officer or the chief legal counsel will be present at the regular meeting location, unless unfeasible due to the pandemic. The chief administrative officer and chief legal counsel for city commissions, other than the City Council, are designated city staff members.

Council meetings are available live through the city’s website, the city’s cable channel and the city’s YouTube channel.

Info: tr.im/nov18

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