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An overflow crowd fills the Santa Maria City Council chambers in 2018. After 16 months of closure to the public due to COVID-19 precautions, the chambers will reopen to local residents on Tuesday, with virtual broadcasting also continuing. 

Santa Maria residents are invited once again to attend government meetings in the city's council chambers beginning next week, following 16 months of closure to the public and a virtual-only format due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The first meeting community members will be able to attend is the 5:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting of the Santa Maria City Council, according to spokesman Mark van de Kamp. There is a seating capacity of 120 inside the chambers and social distancing is not required.

Meetings will continue to be broadcast virtually via the city's YouTube page and on Comcast Channel 23. Residents also may choose to participate via Zoom rather than attend in-person, van de Kamp said. 

“We look forward to interacting face to face with our residents again,” said Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino. “We really want the public to attend, be informed and participate in decisions that impact our city.”

Meeting attendees who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 will be required to wear face coverings, while those who are vaccinated may choose not to wear a face covering, van de Kamp said. Residents will self-attest to their vaccination status. 

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The Santa Maria Planning Commission also will hold a meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, although whether it will be held in person has yet to be confirmed. 

City meeting agendas are available at www.cityofsantamaria.org. The City Clerk’s Office can be contacted at 805-925-0951, ext. 2306, or via email at cityclerk@cityofsantamaria.org.

For more information, contact the Public Information office at 805-925-0951, ext. 2372. 

Series: Recent Santa Maria City Council coverage

Read this collection of stories on Santa Maria City Council from the past year. Read all of our coverage of local government in the Santa Maria Valley on SantaMariaTimes.com.