Members of the public will now have greater digital access to City Council meetings and hearings on Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott’s official Facebook page ,rather than attending in person, amid concerns about the coronavirus.
Scott announced the expanded coverage Tuesday afternoon with the aim of continuing to make city government operations accessible and transparent in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Members of the public have the right to follow what is going on in their city government,” Scott said. “While City Council hearings and meetings are open to the public, accessibility means that we are inclusive of our residents who aren’t able to come down to City Hall and sit in the Du Burns Council Chambers. By offering another means of accessibility, we can take another step towards increasing transparency within our government and keeping people safe.”
The expanded coverage will allow people to view hearings that are not broadcast by CharmTV (Channel 25), as well as council meetings and press conferences, which will all be livestreamed on Scott’s Facebook page.
People can view archived videos of council meetings and hearings on CharmTV’s YouTube page.
Citizens who are watching meetings from home but still want to participate can continue to submit public comment and testimony to [email protected]–an option that was available before the coronavirus outbreak, said Stefanie Mavronis, communication director for the Council President’s Office.
Mavronis said the Council President’s Office will ensure the appropriate committee and councilmembers receive the submission.
She added that people can also share their thoughts with Scott via social media at @councilpresbms across all platforms.
Scott’s announcement about expanded meeting coverage came just hours before Gov. Larry Hogan announced the ninth confirmed case of the coronavirus in Maryland. A Montgomery County woman in her 60s tested positive for COVID-19. She was on the same Egyptian cruise ship connected to five of the state’s other confirmed cases.
Earlier in the day, Hogan announced that a Prince George’s County couple, who had also traveled aboard that cruise ship, had also tested positive.
Nationwide, there have been at least 808 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, including 28 deaths, as of 5:51 p.m. Tuesday, according to a real-time dashboard created by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.