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Council to vote on adopting temporary rules

ELKINS — Elkins City Council will gather for its first in-person City Hall meeting in months tonight and vote on adopting temporary rules that put requirements in place for attending in-person city meetings, and also state how following those requirements will be enforced.

Council will also discuss making possible changes to the city charter, as well as what Halloween trick-or-treating will be allowed in the city during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both items are on the agenda for tonight’s meeting, but no further details were included in the meeting’s information packet.

The proposed resolution for adopting temporary rules of council states “the ongoing public health emergency has precipitated the need for additional and temporary rules for the conduct of public meetings to ensure the health and safety of all participants.”

“Council finds that is in the best interests of the City of Elkins to adopt and implement these temporary rules so long as the public health emergency continues,” the proposed resolution states.

The proposed temporary rules include:

“No person in the following categories will be permitted to attend council and committee meetings:

“A) Anyone experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms, including but not limited to fever, chills, coughing and/or difficulty breathing.

“B) Anyone having tested positive for the COVID-19 virus with 14 days immediately prior to the meeting.

“C) Anyone residing in a household with any other person who is either experiencing COVID-19-related symptoms or who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.”

Face coverings are also addressed by the proposed temporary rules.

“Face coverings are to be worn by all meeting participants, members of the media, members of the public, and any other attendees. An exception will be made allowing temporary removal of a face covering for those addressing the meeting and only while maintaining a six-foot distance from others or separated by a partition.”

Other proposed requirements include “attendees seated in the gallery who do not reside in the same household are required to maintain a six-foot distance from each other. A maximum capacity of gallery attendees will be posted and enforced.”

The rules would be enforced at meetings in the following ways:

“The chair may issue a warning to any violator and upon continued violation ask the individual to leave the meeting,” and “Should the chair’s request be ignored, and the violation continue, the violator shall be removed by a member of the Elkins Police Department and may face criminal charges.”

If passed by council, the temporary rules will “remain in effect until rescinded by action of a majority of the governing body, having duly considered the local health conditions and local, state and federal guidance.”

Council will meet at City Hall at 7 p.m. tonight.

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