Two months after the Arlington County Board resumed in-person meetings, it appears members of the public are more comfortable showing up to voice their opinions.
Of the 18 people signed up for the County Board’s July 17 “citizen comment” portion kicking off the meeting, 13 were in-person speakers, the remainder checking in via Internet.
Prior to the COVID crisis, testimony at County Board meetings was required to be in person. For the period between April 2020 and May 2021, all County Board meetings, and thus all testimony, were conducted “virtually.” It is likely the current hybrid model could be the standard going forward.
On another front, Arlington’s mixed messaging on masks had a mixed result at the board meeting. All County Board members and top staff were mask-free, but a majority of the public in the room remained masked-up, as county officials have intimated (but may not have the legal authority to actually require) that they be.
Though somewhat late to the return-to-in-person governance party, the Arlington government is catching up. Planning Commission meetings are expected to start running in-person in September, and other bodies could follow.