Most city operations and facilities in Montpelier will return to normal on July 6, including City Council meetings. However, city officials say they are working on allowing residents to continue to participate remotely.
“At our next regular meeting on July 21st, we will be back in the council chamber,” City Manager Bill Fraser said Wednesday. “We are still working on options to allow for hybrid participation.”
Fraser said that if the city has to spend money on a permanent virtual option, it will do so. Anyone who wants to participate but can’t dedicate an entire Wednesday evening should benefit.
“They can watch their kids,” he said. “They can get dinner. They can not come out in bad weather. I think it’s a lot more user-friendly for some of our residents for whom getting to the meetings is challenge, and we still have the in-person option, too.”
Early in the pandemic, the Montpelier City Council decided that most city-owned facilities would re-open to the public, in person, right after July 4th. Anyone not vaccinated against COVID-19 will be required to wear a mask.
The capital city’s celebration of Juneteenth will take place at 5 p.m Saturday on the State House lawn. Juneteenth marks June 19, 1865, the day news reached Galveston, Texas, that the Civil War — and slavery — had ended.
The U.S. Senate approved a bill Tuesday to make Juneteenth a national holiday, and not long before the City Council meeting began, the House of Representatives followed suit.
“We passed our resolution commemorating Juneteenth last week,” Councilor Jack McCullough said. “The Senate is where it has not passed before, so it goes to the House and it seems quite likely that that’s going to happen. I think it’s a long-overdue recognition.”
“I thought that (passage) was great, especially at the same time when many of the same people are urging that none of that should be taught about in schools, and that people shouldn’t be able to vote,” Fraser said. “So — nice that they made the holiday.”