Colusa City Hall has reopened to the public with a few restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
After seven months of locking the public out of the building and from City Council meetings, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Colusa City Council has decided to unlock the door to allow the public to enter.
City officials said it was appropriate to open now that the state has revised criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities.
Colusa moved from the most restrictive tier to the “red” tier on Tuesday, officials said.
“Our (COVID-19) numbers are pretty low,” said Mayor Josh Hill.
The City Council went on lockdown in March to protect the health of city staff, and has remained on lockdown despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s authorization in May for low risk workplaces to reopen.
The City Council agreed at their Oct. 6 meeting that City Hall should reopen with precautions in place, such as providing masks and hand sanitizer in the hallway and outside City Council chambers.
The city also plans to clean the facility at least once or twice a day, and to keep one unisex restroom locked for staff use only.
“As long as we are doing our due diligence to be proactive, I think it would be appropriate to reopen,” said City Attorney Ryan Jones.
Colusa County Councilman Greg Ponciano had asked that the reopening plan be on the agenda, as Colusa County had set the precedent that government offices could reopen safely.
City Manger Jesse Cain also agreed that City Council Chambers, which has a capacity limit of 49, could safely reopen for the public to attend meetings at half capacity, providing the public wear masks and maintain a six foot distance from others.
While City Council meetings will continue to be available online, the city is still working to improve audio/video technology, which could be in place before the November meeting.
The city is investing in new microphones and voice activated cameras that will allow the public to better hear the conversation and see who is speaking.
“Once somebody goes to talk, (the camera) will focus on that person,” Cain said.
Once completed, City Hall will also have Wi-Fi accessibility in City Council chambers, the hallway, and the main conference room.
“It’s nice City Hall is coming into the 21st century,” Hill said. ♣