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Glendale City Council meetings transition to teleconference format in response to the coronavirus

Glendale City Hall, on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018.
Glendale City Council meetings will be held through teleconferencing beginning this Tuesday, allowing members of the public to watch on their computers and TVs and call in to make comments. It’s a way to continue some city business while social-distancing rules are in place to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, city officials said. Several other cities, including Los Angeles, Burbank and West Hollywood, have canceled public meetings for varying amounts of time.
(Raul Roa / Glendale News-Press)

Glendale will hold a pair of City Council meetings tomorrow using a teleconference format, reflecting increasingly stringent calls for social distancing to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

It marks the first public city business since a local state of emergency was declared on March 16 in response to the virus that causes COVID-19. Glendale has six confirmed cases of the virus, according to the latest report from county health officials.

Several other cities, including Los Angeles, Burbank and West Hollywood, have put their public meetings on hold as the total number of coronavirus cases continues to climb across the county. As of Sunday, there were 409 cases in the county and five reported deaths.

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In Glendale, a special meeting will be held at 3 p.m. and will be followed by a regular meeting at 6 p.m., where council members are slated to discuss the state of emergency currently set to last until the end of the month.

Only Mayor Ara Najarian will be physically present in the city’s temporary chambers. The other four council members will call in to the meeting using audio only, according to city officials.

Members of the public can view the proceedings streaming online through the city’s website or on Glendale’s public access TV channel, GTV6.

They will also be able to call in to the meeting to make comments and respond to agenda items.

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Those interested in speaking should call (818) 937-8100 during the meeting, according to city spokeswoman Eliza Papazian.

After calls are screened by an operator, “the mayor will take calls as they come in and basically run it as if they were there in person and asking the question,” Papazian said.

The decision to limit the number of people present during meetings comes amid increasingly strict social-distancing mandates at every level of government.

Last Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered Californians to stay at home except for essential needs, like buying groceries, going to the doctor and pharmacy and caring for relatives.

The same day, L.A. County officials prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people in enclosed spaces.

Earlier today, Los Angeles canceled its planned meetings for next two weeks. Burbank has canceled all city meetings until next month, and West Hollywood has canceled them through the end of June, unless there is crucial city business. The California Legislature has suspended operations until April 13, and the U.S. Congress is contemplating moving to virtual meetings.

There are no other Glendale board or commission meetings currently scheduled for the week.

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For more than a week, the city has closed its facilities to the public, including senior centers and a public pool.

Services, such as water and power and trash collection, will not be affected, according to city officials.

All city-sponsored events and private events at city facilities have been canceled for the month of March.

Glendale’s state of emergency is currently slated to expire on March 31, but Najarian said it’s likely to be extended.

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