The Guilford County Board of Commissioners Monday, Dec. 7 meeting held to swear in new county commissioners had a dramatically different look and feel than all the other times that that meeting – or, really, party – has been held.

Every two years, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners holds a morning meeting on the first Monday in December to swear in new and reelected county commissioners – and often other county officials.

The event usually brings a whole lot of people to the commissioners’ second-floor meeting room in the Old Guilford County Court House in downtown Greensboro. And those sometimes standing room only meetings of the past have been followed by a festive breakfast buffet in the large foyer next to the meeting room.

In past years, elected officials and well-wishers have hung around after the meetings for an hour or more, enjoying delicious food and trading niceties and congratulations.

But the meeting and the post-meeting celebration were dramatically different in 2020, the year of the pandemic. This year, the meeting wasn’t even open to the public. Only current and new commissioners – and a select group of others – were invited along with some key county staff.

Before the meeting, Guilford County Clerk to the Board Robin Keller said it was tough transforming the festive, communal affair of years past into a different event in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the meeting, Keller said that the new commissioners being sworn in weren’t given a cap on the number of people they could bring.

“There are no limits for them,” she said. “We are trying to prioritize the guests of those taking their oath of office – so we are working our numbers around theirs. However, most are inviting just immediate family members.”

After the meeting, instead of the usual sumptuous breakfast buffet in the foyer, there was a food line with two items: a small cup of fruit and some French toast casserole.

That was in the Blue Room on the first floor of the old court house, and, after the meeting, the Blue Room was practically empty except for a few people who were in line getting their casserole to go.