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Martins Ferry City Council moving back to its chamber

MARTINS FERRY — Martins Ferry City Council is moving back to the city building for its regular meeting tonight.

Council had been holding its meetings at the Rec Center gym because of coronavirus concerns and to better adhere to social distancing guidelines mandated by the state of Ohio.

Council President Kristine Davis said council still will observe the 10-person rule mandated by the state, with council members spread six feet apart.

To allow the public to participate, both doors to the council chambers will be open to allow people to see and hear the meeting, set for 6 p.m. today.

“The Rec Center is opening and it’s difficult to have council meetings without having all our normal supplies. We’re still trying to stay compliant with the state by keeping the meeting to 10 or fewer,” she said.

Davis said for future meetings council plans to use some sort of online streaming service to allow better access for the public. She said the Ohio Municipal League has made some recommendations for various services.

“We don’t know if it will be over the city’s website or we may use another program. … For anyone who is handicapped this will make it easier for them to participate without having to use the steps. This is one of my goals moving forward. It’s relatively inexpensive and we should be able to do that,” she noted.

In a letter to council regarding going back to council chambers, Davis noted the council chambers would be cleaned and sanitized beforehand and no one allowed until re-opened for the meeting.

“The public will be allowed to attend, but will be restricted to the hallway, and will be admitted to Council Chambers one at a time if they wish to address Council. Masks are encouraged. Other safeguards can be arranged if needed,” Davis wrote.

“I think the best approach for us is to try to return to some semblance of normalcy — yet as safely as possible — making adjustments as needed. Then we can concentrate on working together on the many issues facing the City right now. … I know these times are stressful, and I thank you for your patience these past weeks as we and all other municipalities have struggled to handle our duties yet stay safe and in compliance with the law,” she added in her note to council.

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