City Council issues lily-livered statement concerning abortion rights
Happy 4th of July?

The City Council should require masks at meetings

023D5980-5DAE-4BAA-8091-9CB9DB5D4A18An open letter to the new Davis mayor and the city council:

I attended the city council meeting in person this week for the first time in over two years. I wore a N95 mask for the entire meeting. A few of the audience also wore masks. Unfortunately, none of the councilmembers or city staff did likewise (although the city attorney had one on for at least part of the time).

Also this week I had to call city hall on business and was informed on the phone that masks are required in city facilities for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

The Yolo County COVID website states: "Yolo County strongly recommends you wear a well-fitting, high quality mask in indoor public settings when COVID case rates are moderate to high (above 7 cases per 100,000)." The current weekly average case rate is 45.8 cases per 100K individuals, six times higher than the recommended minimum level for masks, and higher than the average state rate of 36.8.

By holding public meetings and not requiring masks the Council and staff put themselves and members of the public (and by extension their families) at increased risk for COVID infections.

Given how well the city and community have responded to the COVID pandemic in the past two years, I am disappointed the council has not seen fit to require masks for themselves, staff, and attendees at meetings. Please follow the county health officer's recommendations.

The pandemic is not over.

Robert Canning

Comments

Darell

Until this moment in the pandemic, my entire family managed to avoid COVID-19. That perfect run came to a screeching halt last week for all of us.

My family certainly agrees with what Robert has written here.

George Galamba

I'm a firm believer in in-person meetings, but given the high rate of current infections, I would not be adverse to returning to online-only meetings provided there is a set date within 6 months to re-evaluate.
If online only meetings are reinstated, they MUST be offered on the city's YouTube channel. Most people don't know it, but although almost all commission meetings are offered on YouTube, the city council and planning commission meetings (the most important) are not. Why does this matter? Because YouTube provides instant transcription, thus allowing hearing impaired persons to participate. The service that provides access to the city council and planning commission doesn't. The current setup denies access to city council meetings to the hearing impaired. I suspect this is an ADA violation, but....

Keith

It's time to move on. The pandemic is in its final stages with a very low death rate. We're seeing full ball parks, concerts and other things coming back with people attending unmasked. I don't feel requiring people to now mask to attend city council meetings should be a requirement. If some attendees feel they need a mask then by all means wear one but I don't think it should be mandatory.

Roberta L. Millstein

Keith, I don't know what gives you the idea that "the pandemic is in its final stages." The rates are as high as they have ever been and the virus is still evolving -- it is more transmissible than ever. Significant percentages of people are still getting long COVID and lord knows what that is going to do for our health care system and society in the long term. Plus some people are immunocompromised. People should not have to choose between their health and participating in their democracy. Yes, individuals can choose to wear masks to protect themselves, but protection would be greater if everyone was wearing one.

I feel like the City Council has consistently followed rather than led when it came to COVID policy, with Healthy Davis Together just falling in its lap. Can't it just lead on this one simple thing by requiring masks? Especially when they have curtailed opportunities for calling in comments and failing to include instructions on the agenda for how to access the meeting remotely.

Colin Walsh

I have been in several court houses accross the country durring the pandemic, and they hall have taken measures to prevent the spread of COVID in the court room. they all have required masks at almost all times. most have put up plexy glass around the podium to allow the speaker to take off their mask. The Citry could easely do this. they could also seperate the council seats with plexy glass so council members could more comfortably unmask. The City can and should do more.

Not requiring masks, and not taking other simple measures to prevent the spread of COVID is more than just an anoyance, it actively discourages people who are imune coimpromised or otherwise concerned about COVID from attending and participating in our local goverment. Effectively excluding a class of people from local goverment meetings is totally unacceptable antithetical to our local democracy.

Robert Canning

Keith says: "It's time to move on."

Dear Keith: Rather than focus on death rates, I suggest you look at the rate of hospitalizations and the overall case rate. Right now, two-thirds of California counties are in the high category of case rates. Yolo is one of them. The current Omicron variant, BA5, has high contagion and vaccine-escape properties that make it more dangerous, particularly for those who are 1) not immunized; 2) immunocompromised; and 3) those with complicating conditions.

One of my points is that the city is requiring masks in city "facilities" but the city council is not following that rule in the city council chambers. As Roberta notes, the council is once again behind the curve on this.

Just because people are going to large gatherings doesn't mean this is over. In the council chambers last week there were about 30 people. In a crowd that size there is a 63% chance that someone in the room is infectious. (I can show you the math and citation if you are interested.) Not masking just makes the room more dangerous.

Last week I went to a live concert with about 150 people in an enclosed space. Few people had masks on. I wore my mask the whole time. The point here is not that we should not be participating in group activities, but that to protect ourselves and others, simple measures like wearing an N95 mask is good practice. Something I hope the city council would model.

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