The Greensboro City Council held its first in person meeting since July on Monday, Nov. 1.

The meeting held in the Katie Dorsett Council Chamber was actually a “hybrid” meeting which means councilmembers and speakers had the choice of being in the Council Chamber or participating by Zoom.

All the members of the City Council were present, and because Guilford County has a mask mandate imposed by the Guilford County Board of Health, aka the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, masks were required at the meeting.

However, Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann chose not to wear a mask at the meeting and Councilmember Yvonne Johnson at times wore a mask and other times did not.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan wore a mask when she wasn’t speaking, but since the mayor speaks often at meetings, Vaughan spent a lot of time taking her mask off and putting it back on.

Also because of COVID concerns, plexiglass shields were all over the place with large shields between each councilmember sitting at the dais.  Since councilmembers often have whispered conferences during the meeting, this meant that when two councilmembers wished to converse they had to push their chairs back to where the shield ended so they could get close and whisper back and forth.

If the shields were in fact put in place to protect the councilmembers from each other, the councilmembers effectively thwarted this effort by going around the shields, which might make one wonder what the actual purpose of the shields were.

Throughout the meeting Vaughan asked speakers at the podium and councilmembers to remove their masks when they were speaking.  It was certainly necessary in order to be able to understand what the person was saying, but if people are constantly putting their masks on and taking them off, it violates the protocols for effective mask wearing according to the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC guidelines state, “Be sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before putting on your mask.”

“Do NOT touch the mask when wearing it.”

The guidelines also state, “Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing.”

Although the mayor and councilmembers were constantly removing their masks during the meeting, nobody was washing their hands.