Philadelphia, March 11, 2020 – Following consultations with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and Council’s leadership team, City Council President Darrell L. Clarke today announced a series of proactive steps intended to reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus, while still permitting Council to conduct its session and the public to participate in it.
“These steps are being taken as precautions and upon the advice of our city’s public health professionals,” said Council President Clarke. “These measures are temporary. Depending upon the course that this pandemic takes, additional steps may be required in the future.”
Council President Clarke and Council’s leadership team announced the following steps, effective with tomorrow’s Council Meeting.
1. To ensure that everyone can keep a medically advisable social distance from each other, Caucus will be held in Council Chambers.
2. At the recommendation of the Department of Public Health, every other seat in the public seating area of Council Chambers will be blocked off, so that people will sit in alternating seats. This social distancing is to reduce any potential exposure to the coronavirus. Council President Clarke will encourage anyone who feels ill or feverish and who has developed a cough, to leave the chamber, for their safety and the safety of others. For the same public health reason, no one will be permitted to stand along the side walls of the Council Chamber.
3. To reduce congestion inside the rails, where staff of Council typically sit, Council President Clarke has requested that each member of Council designate only one member of staff to be present at the Council session.
4. To reduce congestion at the podium, there will be no presentations.
5. With respect to public comment, speakers will be asked to stand no closer than three (3) feet from the microphone. Alternatively, speakers will be given the option to submit their testimony in writing, which will be made part of the permanent public record for that session.
Clarke and Council’s leadership team is reminding the public that anyone can watch Council meetings on Xfinity Channel 64, Fios Channel 40 or www.phlcouncil.com/watch, and they can listen to the sessions on WURD 96.1 FM and 900 AM.
“Each of these steps are being taken to protect the public, Council members and staff from exposure to the coronavirus,” Clarke concluded. “Let’s stay calm, trust the experts, and follow the science.”