On April 12, for the first time in more than a year, Bridgeville residents will be able to attend a borough council meeting live and in-person.
But rather than the cozy confines of council chambers, the meeting will take place at the Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Department’s Chartiers Room.
“By holding it at the fire hall, we feel like we can [accomodate] those that want to attend, while maintaining recommended distancing guidelines,” said council president Bill Henderson.
During the past 12 months, most council business was conducted entirely via Zoom webconference. A brief experiment with hybrid in-person/Zoom meetings ended when Covid-19 rates surged late last year.
In theory, the convenience of online council meetings should boost public attendance. But in practice, very few residents logged in to watch the Zoom meetings. For some people, local government meetings are a sort of social event—a chance to spend time with friends and neighbors. But apparently, when people are home alone, they’re not included to open up a laptop and watch municipal government in action.
With Pennsylvania’s vaccination rate at roughly 31% and rising, councilmembers felt the time was right to open the doors to residents.
“All of us miss the interactions with the residents,” Henderson said, “and we’re hoping to get back to some sense of normalcy as soon as possible… The toughest part is guessing how many people will actually come to the meeting in person.
Council’s usual meeting space is too small for a crowd of any size to stay social distance, but the comparatively cavernous fire hall should have more than enough room.
Bridgeville Borough Council’s April 12 meeting is scheduled for 7PM, Bridgeville VFD Chartiers Room at 370 Commercial Street, Bridgeville, PA.