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After 3 Years, Boards and Commissions to Meet in Person

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By Lookout Staff

February 16, 2023 -- After three years meeting remotely, Santa Monica Boards and Commissions will begin holding in-person meetings next month, City officials announced Thursday.

There will be no hybrid meetings "at this time due to budget and system limitations," and members of the public will be required to weigh in by attending the meeting or in writing.

The shift coincides with the sunsetting of the COVID-19 State of Emergency Orders by Governor Gavin Newsom on February 28 and the City Council's decision to end the local emergency ("Santa Monica To End COVID Emergency," January 11, 2023).

"When the State order sunsets, COVID-19 will no longer be a valid basis for public bodies to hold meetings virtually," the City said.

Under AB 361, adopted by the State Legislature, local jurisdictions were given more flexibility to hold virtual meetings of their public bodies during the pandemic.

As a result, Boards, Commissions and Task Forces will return to holding in-person public meetings, which were suspended when a local emergency was declared on March 13, 2020.

The shift comes as LA County has remained at low COVID Community level for more than a month despite the spread of a highly contagious subvariant that has not resulted in an increase in hospitalizations and deaths.

Symptoms of the new XBB.1.5 subvariant are similar to a cold or flu -- cough, congestion, fever, muscle and body aches and shortness of breath.

"While COVID transmission is low, there is an understanding that this seasonal fluctuation has simply become our new normal and the general public is fully aware of how to protect themselves and others," City officials said.

For more information or to find the schedule of board and commission meetings, click here

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