At a Zoom meeting on May 17, the Moretown Select Board made a plan to resume in-person select board meeting on June 7. However, unlike other towns, Moretown has no intention of maintaining a hybrid remote attendance option.
“I know we’ve had success here with the Zoom meetings, but I don’t think that we need to go forward with them,” said select board chair Tom Martin, who pointed out that those who can’t physically attend meetings in the town office can simply watch them online afterwards. “Both ORCA media and Mad River Valley TV will be covering meetings.”
Still, the board voiced concern about the risk of spreading coronavirus with a return to in-person meetings, especially among the public. “We can space people apart,” proposed Martin.
“We could have windows open,” added select board member Don Wexler. “Then it’s just a matter of questioning whether we wear our masks or we don’t.”
Select board member Callie Streeter pointed out that everyone at the meeting must continue to wear masks as long as the town has its mandatory mask ordinance. “I’m perfectly fine with meeting in-person. But even though the CDC guidance has changed, we would have to wear our masks because we still have our ordinance in place,” said Streeter.
Martin revealed that the town ordinance would change soon, as long as coronavirus cases continue to drop in the state and Governor Phil Scott continues to lift restrictions. Martin hopes that will be the case; he is eager to meet in-person again. “It will be a pleasure for me to get off the virtual meetings. Although we’ve done a good job, I want to see everyone.”
Of all the Mad River Valley towns that have discussed returning to in-person meetings, Moretown is the only one to not consider a hybrid option. For instance, after hearing several members of the public vouch for continued remote access to meetings, the Waterbury Select Board agreed to purchase a high-tech swivel camera to film select board members at in-person meetings. Waitsfield already has such a camera and intends to continue providing a remote option.
Similarly, Warren Select Board members proposed buying a camera for in-person select board meetings, knowing that many people will want to continue attending meetings remotely.
However, members of the public have yet to address the Moretown Select Board to lobby for remote access to meetings.