In-person meetings scheduled for the city, Fredonia | News, Sports, Jobs
Fredonia’s board of directors announced at its workshop on Monday that its meetings will once again be open to the public.
In Dunkirk, General Councilor Paul VanDenVouver said on Tuesday that joint council meetings would reopen to the public on July 6. The group will hold another meeting with department heads only on Tuesday.
For now, all those present at the meetings in the two communes will have to wear masks.
This stems from the uncertainty of officials about how to prove that people are vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We are going to open it to full capacity and we are going to ask that everyone wear a mask,” he said. VanDenVouver said.
He asked Fire Chief Mike Edwards to come up with an appropriate capacity for council meetings that meets social distancing guidelines.
VanDenVouver added that county officials told him he could split the room in half, with the vaccinated on one side and the unvaccinated on the other. “I’m not even going to go with that” he said.
Fredonia administrator James Lynden noted Monday that the Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 guidelines do not require proof of vaccination for entry into a meeting or public building.
“The sign on the door (of the town hall) always says that you have to have a mask to enter”, he said.
“While Scott (Johnston) and I were outside today, people were wearing masks to enter – all of them, including myself,” added Lynden, who has publicly stated that he is vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I think the most important thing is that you let, and you want the public to be involved again in our meetings and in our buildings, because of the guidelines which are relaxed a bit. “ said Mayor Doug Essek.
VanDenVouver also spoke about the importance of open and public government deliberations.
“We want everyone to know what’s going on” he said. “If it was up to me, let’s open it up, but you don’t know who has what in the general public.”
Essek asked directors at Fredonia directly if they wanted to let the public attend next Monday’s meeting in a mask, following current social distancing guidelines that allow people to sit three feet apart. All agreed.
The Fredonia access channel will still live stream board meetings on YouTube, for people who still don’t want to come in person or are turned away due to capacity needs.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the board meeting space on the second floor of the Village Hall had around 40 seats for spectators. Very interesting meetings often saw spectators standing near the back and spilling out into the room. The board sometimes moved meetings to the larger village courtyard on the third floor of the village hall.
A note of concern sounded behind the Fredonia Access Channel’s camera on Monday. Daniel Riewaldt said he wanted a barrier between himself and the public.
“I’m asking for something here to block me from the public”, he said. “I don’t trust someone who says I’m vaccinated. I’m sorry but …”
“This is why we say that everyone must have a mask”, said Trustee Scott Johnston.
“I always ask for something that blocks me from the public”, said Riewaldt. The trustees agreed to give him something for Monday.
In addition, Village Clerk Annemarie Johnston has been ordered to notify the media of the reopening.