Laguna Beach public meetings to remain virtual into February

Laguna Beach City Council members Sue Kempf, Bob Whalen and Toni Iseman begin an in-chambers meeting in April 2020.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The Laguna Beach City Council will continue to meet virtually through the end of February, the governing body decided Tuesday.

A new statewide mask order through Jan. 15 prompted the council to run Tuesday’s meeting remotely. It would have been the only council meeting impacted during that timeline, but last week, the state extended the mask mandate by a month.

“As you know, the COVID numbers continue to increase,” Laguna Beach City Manager Shohreh Dupuis said. “The mask mandate now has been extended by the governor to Feb. 15. We do have on a weekly basis a significant number of our employees also continuing to test positive for COVID.”

Over the next month, the council was set to meet four times. Regular meetings are scheduled for Jan. 25 and Feb. 15. The council will also meet on Feb. 8 to interview candidates for open positions on city boards, commissions and committees.

The strategic planning workshop originally scheduled for Feb. 12 has been moved to March 4 in the hopes that the rise in COVID-19 cases will subside, making it safer to conduct the meeting in person.

“It’s a very interactive meeting,” Councilwoman Toni Iseman said of the strategic planning session. “It would be difficult to Zoom and achieve what we traditionally do — a lot of writing and moving around — so I think it’s important enough that we just delay it until we can all be there.”

All of the city’s boards, commissions and committees will continue to meet virtually.

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