Long Beach City Council meetings are moving back to an in-person format, again, after having been held in a hybrid format over the past two months, the city announced Thursday.
The hybrid format allowed residents to attend in person or participate from home. The new format, starting Sept. 6, still allows people to watch from home, but if they want to speak directly to the council during public comment, they’ll have to show up in person.
City meetings have alternated between hybrid, virtual and in-person formats over the past few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with surges in cases prompting the city to bar people from attending public meetings in person and dips in cases leading to the resumption of in-person services.
City officials pivoted to the hybrid model in July after COVID-19 cases started to increase, but city data shows that daily case rates and test positivity rates have trended down since then. Under state law, the City Council has to pass a resolution every 30 days to allow itself and other city commissions and boards to meet virtually, and the last time the council did that was Aug. 9.
Long Beach is currently averaging about 12 coronavirus new cases per day and has a positivity rate of 11%. In early July the city was averaging about 55 daily cases and had a positivity rate of 16.5%.
Long Beach does not have a mask mandate for city meetings but the city’s announcement said that facial coverings are still highly recommended in accordance with guidance from state health officials.
When the City Council meets on Sept. 6, it’s expected to take the first of two procedural votes to approve next year’s budget. People who can’t make it to the meeting in person can still submit public comments through the city’s e-comment portal before 4 p.m. Tuesday.