City of Detroit issues public health order extending remote public access to meetings

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Posted at 2:58 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 14:58:04-05

(WXYZ) — The City of Detroit announced Thursday a public health order aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 at government body meetings.

The order requires public bodies subject to the Open Meetings Act to extend remote public access to meetings and requires social distancing for those in-person at the meetings through March 31, 2022.

“Protecting the public’s health and safety remains our number one priority while recognizing the responsibility to provide open access to public meetings.” said Chief Public Health Officer Denise Fair Razo in a press release. “This order will help reduce the risks associated with COVID-19 to the personal health and safety of both members of the public and public bodies.”

The order, the city says, is backed by the following data:

  • Many areas of Detroit have vaccination rates below the level required to achieve community immunity to limit spread of the virus, which remains a concern as the spread of COVID-19 may result in emerging and more dangerous variants, such as B.1.617.2 (Delta) and B.1.1.529 (Omicron) becoming higher proportionally through the interactions of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
  • After December 31, 2021, government meetings subject to the Open Meetings Act must be held in-person. To maximize public access to government meetings while protecting the public health, all bodies subject to the Open Meetings Act must continue to allow members of the public to remotely and effectively participate in government meetings.
  • To further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and provide essential protections to vulnerable individuals, it is also crucial to limit the number of people physically gathered in a place where an open meeting is held to the extent necessary to ensure that individuals remain at least six feet apart.