The City of Greensboro announced on Friday, Aug. 6 that all meetings of the City Council and various boards and commissions of the city will immediately go back to being held virtually.

According to the press release, the meetings will be held virtually “in response to growing numbers of the COVID-19 Delta variant and to prevent its possible spread.”

The City Council met virtually from April 2020 through March 2021 when the City Council made a step back toward normalcy with “hybrid” meetings.  For hybrid meetings city councilmembers could participate virtually, but for most hybrid meetings the entire City Council and senior city staff were in the council chamber.  In May journalists were also allowed to attend the meetings in the council chamber, but the meetings were not open to the public.

People speaking at a City Council meeting either during the public forum or on a specific agenda item were required to participate virtually at the hybrid City Council meetings in April, May and June.

On July 13, for the first time since March 2020, a limited number of people were allowed to attend the City Council meeting and speak from the podium, but people were still “encouraged” to participate virtually.

Masks were, according to the agenda, required in the council chamber, but at the Aug. 1 meeting, where a limited number of people were allowed in the council chamber, some councilmembers wore masks some of the time and some none of the time.

An announcement was made that beginning on Thursday, August 5, masks would once again be required in city facilities of both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

The August 6 announcement that meetings going forward will be virtual is the latest step back toward the full pandemic lockdown the state experienced in 2020.

The next City Council meeting is a work session on Thursday, Aug. 12 at 2 p.m.  The announcement of virtual meetings doesn’t affect work sessions, which have continued to be held virtually despite the changes in regular meetings.

Work sessions are more informal meetings of the City Council to receive reports and discuss issues.  By tradition, official votes are not taken at work sessions, but the City Council will often make a decision by consensus.

The next regular meeting of the City Council is Tuesday, Aug. 17 at 5:30 p.m. and it will be virtual.