Somerset Virtual Meetings to Continue
Somerset County Council to continue live streaming meetings and allow participants to attend virtually.
15:34 14 April 2021
Council meetings in Somerset will continue to be live streamed to encourage residents to attend virtually instead of in person. The decision comes after the current coronavirus restrictions have been lifted by the government.
Somerset County Council and the four district councils have been conducting virtual meetings at the start of the pandemic. Following Government announcement on easing pandemic restrictions, civic leaders will have to begin attending public meetings in person again starting May 7. However, all five councils have decided to continue live streaming their meetings to continue to allow the public and press to participate without having to risk attending in person.
A county spokesman said: “Virtual council meetings have allowed us to safely continue vital business throughout the pandemic. It has also enabled greater participation from residents by allowing many more people to attend council meetings.
“We are currently finalising plans to be able to hold meetings with councillors safely and looking at the options to ensure participants can attend virtually.”
A Sedgemoor spokesman added: “We are disappointed and we will continue, with the rest of the sector, to lobby for changes that would allow us to conduct safe meetings and retain the benefits of remote meetings – most importantly, holding them in a covid-safe manner.
“We shall be holding our AGM remotely before May 6 and will be looking at how best to conduct face-to-face meetings in as safe as we possibly can to mitigate the increased risk.
“Depending on the government rules in place at any one time, we may have to look at holding large meetings somewhere other than Bridgwater House, as our chamber may not be suitable for socially distancing the number of attendees.”