City council chambers to reopen to public during meetings with limitations

City council chambers to reopen to public during meetings with limitations

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - As the city of Jonesboro continues to return to a sense of normal, more things are beginning to re-open in city government.

On Tuesday, June 2, the Jonesboro City Council chamber will reopen to members and residents during council, committee, and board meetings.

The city says there will be a limit of 28 people allowed inside the chamber at a time to comply with the 33% capacity directive from Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

First priority will go to city officials, which include the mayor, council or board/commission/committee members, the city attorney, city clerk, and three staff members.

“Any council members who want to show up in person are welcome to,” Bill Campbell, city communications director, said. “We’ve already had some that said no.”

They will continue to use Zoom to participate in the meeting.

Second priority will be given to the media.

Third priority are for members of the public who have testimony or questions about a specific item on the agenda. Anyone who does must send an email to the city at CouncilComments@jonesboro.org two hours before the meeting to reserve a seat.

Remaining seats, according to the city, will be on who is first in line at the door at the time of the meeting that is being held in the chamber.

People who do not want to attend the meeting in person but still has a question or comment can still drop off a document at the east door of the Municipal Center. It must be clearly marked “City Council” to whichever committee you want to address no later that two hours before the meeting starts.

Questions can still be emailed to CouncilComments@jonesboro.org or phoned in at 870-336-7248.

People will also be able to address a specific item on the agenda by requesting to be on the video conference.

The city said a computer linked to the video conference will be set up in the meeting room next to the lobby of the first floor of the Municipal Center.

That video conference will only be available during city council meetings.

Campbell said this is all part of reopening the city as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As long as we continue to be successful in how we handle this and the numbers don't spike, we're going to continue to open things up piece by piece so people can get out and enjoy the summer, the regular activities as best as possible,” Campbell said.

People attending the meetings will still have to abide by social distancing guidelines and wear a mask at all times.

Campbell said temperature checks will also take place as people come into the chamber. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or greater, a cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, a sore throat, loss of taste or smell, or recently had pneumonia will not be allowed inside the chamber.

This also includes people who has traveled overseas or from states or metro areas considered hot spots for COVID-19 in the last 14 days, or anyone who has knowingly been exposed to the virus in the last two weeks.

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