To: County Legislators
CC: NYS OCA Police
Date: May 21, 2021
Subject: Chemung County Legislature
Update re: Public Meetings under COVID-19 Re-Opening Plan
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. Both states of emergency presently remain in effect.
To reduce the likelihood of the spread of the virus, the Governor’s Executive Order 202.1 reduced the density of gatherings (both public bodies and public in-person attendance at meetings) by temporarily suspending the Open Meetings Law. Since that time, all meetings of the Legislature have been permitted to occur via audio-recorded teleconference.
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 been revised several times as guidance from the CDC and directives from the NYS Governor evolve, and reviewed by the Health Department. Governor Cuomo directed that effective May 19, 2021 fully vaccinated persons need not wear masks or adhere to 6-foot distancing, but unvaccinated persons (including those persons whose vaccination status is not known) still must do so. County Executive Moss has updated County employee workplace guidance in a memo dated May 19, 2021.
I have revised the Legislative re-opening plan to address these changes. Legislative meetings will remain broadcast live to the public via audio-recorded teleconference, and the recordings will remain available for public access. Legislators, the County Executive, and Executive staff and department heads will have the choice to attend the meetings in person or remotely, and those whom have been vaccinated may choose to either wear or remove their masks during the meeting. This plan is subject to change as the response and guidance related to this public health
emergency may dictate. I am hopeful that we can resume unrestricted public participation to these meetings as soon as possible.
Chemung County Legislature Plan for Public Meetings During COVID-19 State of Emergency
Ø Subject to modification as guidance and conditions change (current as of 5/21/2021)
Ø To remain in effect throughout duration of COVID-19 emergency affecting Chemung County, as declared by the Governor or County Executive
Ø Legislative Meetings will be conducted, open to public in-person access, adhering to the following guidelines: o All meetings will be held on the 5th floor o Legislators, invitees and the public are permitted to attend from other locations and participate via audio teleconference, which will be live broadcast and recorded.
- All persons in attendance at meetings will wear masks while walking through and around the 5th floor legislative chambers.
- County Employees attending the meeting who have been vaccinated may remove their masks while seated (or standing/presenting) during the meeting.
- No other attendees will have vaccination status verified; and there will not be public segregation of vaccinated/non-vaccinated public. Public attendees are to wear masks and maintain 6-foot physical distance.
- County officials will adhere to the “Reopening Safety Plan” on file with the Clerk of the Legislature.
- Entry into Hazlett Building (Public) o Hand sanitation 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. o Public will be notified by signage of COVID-19 symptoms; that they are subject to screening questions; and that they may not attend if they are experiencing symptoms. o Public will be asked COVID-19 health screening questions, and shall provide name, address and phone number for contract-tracing purposes, should COVID-19 contract tracing follow-up be necessary after the meeting.
- The Clerk of the Legislature will maintain all documents concerning health screening and contact tracing, and these records are not subject to FOIL.
- Public will be subject to security screening, as per established protocol.
- Elevator usage shall be limited to one person at a time