From: David Manchester, Chairman, Chemung County Legislature
To: County Legislators
CC: NYS OCA Police
Date: February 3, 2022
Subject: Chemung County Legislature
COVID-19 Response re: Public Meetings
On March 7, 2020 Governor Cuomo announced a State of Emergency for the State of New York, related to the COVID-19 health emergency. County Executive Moss also declared a State of Emergency for Chemung County.
Following expiration of those Emergency Declarations, Governor Hochul issued Executive Order 11, and the NYS Legislature passed COVID-19 Emergency modifications to the Open Meetings Law (which remain in effect until the emergency executive orders expire). This temporary emergency State Law (worded exactly as preceding Executive Order), states that public bodies “shall be authorized to meet and take such action authorized by law without permitting in public in-person access to meetings and authorize such meeting to be held remotely by conference call or similar service, provided that the public has the ability to view or listen to such proceeding and that such meetings are recorded and later transcribed”.
Revision to Plan for Re-Opening Legislative Meetings
On August 24, 2020 I published (in conjunction with input from the County Executive and Health Department) a plan for resuming in-person meetings, with in-person public presence. The plan noted that it was “subject to modification as conditions change”. The plan has changed many times as conditions changed.
COVID cases in Chemung County are declining in number and severity, as testing, treatment, immunity and mitigation strategies are more prevalent and effective. I have further revised the plan to permit return of public attendance. The mask mandate for individuals in the Hazlett Building remains in effect, and the re-opening plan likewise includes a mandate that all those present in-person at meetings were masks, regardless of vaccination status. County participants in the meetings will have the choice to attend the meetings in person or remotely. The meetings will remain broadcast live and recorded for remote public access. This plan is subject to change as the response and guidance related to this public health emergency may dictate.
Chemung County Legislature
Plan for Public Meetings During COVID-19 Emergency Law
(L. 2021, Ch. 417, expires January 15, 2022)
- Subject to modification as guidance and conditions change (current as of 2/3/2022)
- Legislative Meetings will be conducted, open to public in-person access, adhering to the following guidelines:
- All meetings will be held on the 5th Floor, either in the Committee Room or the Legislative Chambers.
- Legislators and invitees are permitted to attend from other locations and participate via audio teleconference, which will be live broadcast and recorded for the public to listen to and view.
- The public is not restricted from attending in person.
- Everyone attending in person must wear masks at all times, regardless of vaccination status.
- Hand sanitation, disinfectant and masks will be available at locations easily accessible to the public.
- Restrooms will be cleaned before and after the meeting, and have cleaning supplies and signs directing users to clean surfaces after each use.
- Public will be subject to security screening, as per established protocol.