After more than seven months, Sooke district council will finally return to convening in its chambers next month.
Beginning July 12, council will be allowed back in chambers along with municipal staff.
The district will follow a province-mandated COVID-19 safety plan. Councillors do not need to be vaccinated, and wearing a mask is not required.
“We are cautious here – some members of council and staff remain very vigilant,” Norm McInnis, chief administrative officer, said.
Council meetings have been conducted remotely since Nov. 23, with members of the public able to participate remotely as well. (The public has not been allowed in chambers since March 2020).
Premier John Horgan announced that the province would be aiming for a “return to normal life” with the July 1 Restart Plan. In B.C., the spread of the coronavirus has reached record lows.
But provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry cautioned the public to remain vigilant in protecting against the virus and urged everyone to get vaccinated.
“I don’t expect it’s going to spread widely because so many people have been immunized, but it will likely affect businesses or a school or a long-term care home or a certain community, and we need to be able to manage that. And that may mean going back to certain things like staying home for a period of time or wearing masks in certain situations come the fall,” she said.
Council chambers will reopen to the public on Sept. 20.
Council can continue to have online meetings under the COVID-19 Measures Act. The province is considering amendments to the Community Charter, which provides council with the option to amend the council procedure bylaw to allow for continued electronic meetings.
– with files from Black Press and the Canadian Press