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Local Governments Can Continue Meeting Remotely

A Zoom window that shows several county commissioners.
Screenshot of Pinellas County Commission Zoom meeting.
The Florida Channel
Pinellas County Commissioners meet using Zoom.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has cleared the way for county commissions, school boards, city councils and other local-government panels to continue meeting by conference call or video conferencing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

An executive order issued Wednesday outlining the first phase of attempts to revive the state’s economy also provides an extension for local governments to hold meetings remotely.

Ordinarily, local boards are required to meet in person, but DeSantis issued an order March 20 that allows meeting by conference calls or videoconferencing to prevent the spread of the virus. The March order did not waive other requirements under the state’s open-government laws.

Meanwhile, DeSantis’ executive order Wednesday also said libraries and museums can open at up to 25 percent of their building capacity. For local public libraries and museums, however, that is contingent on local governments allowing them to operate. Also, such things as child play areas will remain closed.