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Politics

Bethel City Council could end in-person public attendance at meetings because of high COVID-19 cases

Bethel City Hall
Olivia Ebertz
/
KYUK
Once they’re back in city hall, the Bethel City Council will consider a resolution to stop allowing the public into meetings.

During their Oct. 26 meeting, the Bethel City Council will be back in their city hall chambers for the first time since May. They’re expected to vote on whether to allow the public into future meetings amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, the city could continue its vaccination incentive program.

Also on the agenda is an item that would allow the city manager to spend more of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act Funds. Bethel City Manager Pete Williams plans to commit $190,000 for the city’s wastewater lift station. Williams also plans to purchase $20,000 in pre-paid Visa gift cards to be used as incentives for people getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Bethel City Hall is now open for city council meetings after being closed for roofing renovations. The council had been meeting at the ONC multipurpose building. Once they’re settled back into their chambers, they’ll consider a resolution to stop allowing the public into meetings. The resolution cites the high COVID-19 case rates and the smaller space as the reason to block the public from participating in person. If adopted, the measure would remain in effect until the city stops renewing its emergency declarations. As written, the proposed resolution does not allow journalists to cover the meetings in person.

The meetings will continue to be broadcast on KYUK and accessible over Zoom or the phone as they have been since September 2020. Council members can continue to participate in person or virtually.