DES MOINES, Iowa – After 15-months of Des Moines City Council meetings conducted over Zoom, in-person meetings will resume next week.
The city says the council will hold its first in-person meeting on June 14th, well over a year since it last met on March 9, 2020. Meetings after that were held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Frank Cownie said, “The lesson to be learned over the past year is that as a Council we should strive to better engage with our residents because few things are as valuable and productive as a face-to-face conversation or exchange of ideas.”
New security protocols will be in place when in-person meetings begin again including time changes, capacity changes, and those attending will have to pass through a security check including a metal detector.
The full list of changes are:
- Council meetings will start at 5 p.m. rather than 4:30 p.m.
- City Hall will close at 4 p.m. to allow for a security sweep of the building
- Building will reopen at 4:30 p.m. – public may enter in the center doors on the east side of City Hall or through doors on the west side (an accessible entrance)
- Those attending Council meetings will pass through a security check and metal detector before proceeding to second floor
- As a precautionary health measure, occupancy in Council chambers will be safely limited to 25 members of the public at any one time
- The Great Hall on the second floor will serve as an overflow/staging area for those addressing Council
- TV and computer monitors will provide a broadcast of the meeting for the overflow crowd
- Face coverings are not required for those vaccinated, unvaccinated visitors are strongly encouraged to wear them
“We see in the news each week that threats can come from all directions and can be intended for anyone,” Mayor Frank Cownie said. “These new steps will help ensure the safety and well-being of visitors and staff while allowing us to accommodate the needs of our residents and provide them the access they’re entitled.”
City Hall is located at 400 Robert D. Ray Drive.