City Council chair urges public to stay home

By , Daily Memphian Updated: March 16, 2020 10:17 AM CT | Published: March 16, 2020 4:00 AM CT

Editor’s note: Due to the serious public health implications associated with COVID-19, The Daily Memphian is making our coronavirus coverage accessible to all readers — no subscription needed.

 As expected, city council chairwoman Patrice Robinson is discouraging citizens from attending the March 24 council session in person and instead directing them to the live stream of committee and full council sessions on the council’s website.

This follows a similar directive from the Shelby County Commission last week which has committee meetings this coming Wednesday.

<strong>Patrice Robinson</strong>

Patrice Robinson

“The Memphis City Council will appeal to its constituents to protect themselves in the coming weeks through its communication outlets,” Robinson said in a Sunday afternoon statement. “Furthermore the city council suggests that citizens utilize the streaming options available to view the upcoming council meeting … to avoid the crowds and potential contact with sick individuals.”

The council chambers at City Hall seat around 400 people. However since early January, the chambers have been under renovation and are expected to be closed through June. The council is currently holding its voting meetings of the full 13-member body in its fifth-floor committee room which holds a few dozen people at most.

Legislative leaders call for limiting Capitol visits as COVID-19 cases increase

That usually works for committee meetings but full council sessions held in the committee room have been more crowded in the smaller space.

The meetings of the council and commission must be open to the public under state law.

Council members and commissioners must be physically present in order to have a quorum and to vote on matters under state law. While they can attend a meeting by teleconference and participate in debates on matters, they cannot vote on any matters unless they are physically present at the meeting.



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