Hoboken City Hall will be reopening for City Council meetings after nearly two years since shuttering their doors due to the pandemic.
Hoboken announced that City Council meetings, which have been virtual since March of 2020, will be returning in a hybrid format starting next year in 2022, where members of the public will be able to attend meetings either in person or on Zoom.
Members of the public who want to attend in-person can enter City Hall for meetings at 6:40 p.m., with meetings starting at 7 p.m.. In-person capacity will be limited to 25 people on a first-come, first-serve basis, with masks required, along with temperature checks at the door and social distancing as precautions for COVID-19.
“It’s about time,” said Council President Ruben Ramos in a phone interview soon after the announcement.
City Hall had been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March of 2020, and was only available via appointment only. It’s continued closure from the public had recently become a contentious topic.
Across Hudson County, municipalities such as Union City and Secaucus, and most recently North Bergen, have been hosting meetings in person; Weehawken and Bayonne have been under a hybrid system, and Jersey City and West New York are still virtual.
During the last City Council meeting on Dec. 1, multiple members of the public attempted to enter City Hall believing that it would reopen, with a few of them apparently calling into the meeting from outside the building.
The meeting before that on Nov. 16, Ramos had said “Hopefully our next meeting, December 1, we’ll go back to-in person [sic]” at the end of the meeting. “I’ll see you at City Hall next council meeting everyone.”
The members of the public were turned away by a security officer on the night of Dec. 1, according to a report from the Jersey Journal. When the meeting began, Ramos, who was the only one at City Hall alongside Council Vice President Jen Giattino, apologized to those outside that were looking to come inside.
While the public will be able to attend meetings again, council members showing up in-person is not guaranteed, as Hoboken spokesperson Marilyn Baer said that it will be up to each council member to decide how they attend the meetings.
The last City Council meeting of the year will be on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.. The first meeting of 2022 will be on Jan. 5 at 7 p.m..