CHICAGO — City Council will meet in person for the first time in more than a year when the mayor and aldermen gather next week.
The meetings moved online in spring 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. But members of the City Council will now have the option to meet in person beginning with the next meeting on Wednesday, according to a Mayor’s Office news release.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot pushed this week for a return to in-person meetings, especially as vaccines have been offered to aldermen and their staffs. But some aldermen have been dismayed at the suggestion, particularly as Chicago is seeing a rise in confirmed cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19.
Aldermen will have the option to participate remotely. The meeting will officially be classified as a remote meeting, but it will be held in accordance with the Open Meetings act, according to the Mayor’s Office.
The second floor of council chambers will be closed to the public so that aldermen who attend in person can sit in a safe, socially distant manner, according to the Mayor’s Office. Instead, members of the public can watch from a third-floor upper gallery, with people selected at random for the public comment portion.
People who wish to attend the meeting must line up at City Hall entrance south of LaSalle Street.
People can continue to watch the meetings online, as well. Remote speakers will be selected at random for the public comment portion. Those who wish to provide public comment can call 312-744-6800 24-48 hours before the meeting. People can submit written public comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
People will also be screened for COVID-19 symptoms when entering City Hall, will have to stay 6 feet apart and wear a mask and only aldermen and staff essential to the meeting will be in the council chambers.
The meeting starts 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Committee meetings will continue virtually for now.