After more than two years of completely remote meetings, the Seattle City Council will begin hybrid meetings in June, allowing members of the public to convene at City Hall.

In response to Gov. Jay Inslee lifting orders that allowed fully remote meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic, Council President Debora Juarez announced Monday that the council would transition to a new, hybrid meeting model, beginning June 1.

“We have been working on this for about three weeks in the spirit of public health and public safety, but also honoring the principles of the Open Public Meetings Act, accessibility and people’s opportunity to come to City Hall or to come to chambers and provide public comments,” Juarez said during a remote council briefing Monday.

“So some of us are going to be in chambers for committee — and I certainly will be one of them — but if there are some council members that have a hybrid plan, I’m open to all those options because the most important thing is public health and public safety,” Juarez said.

In a memo sent to council members Monday, Juarez said the council will “strongly encourage employees and public attendees to wear face coverings during public meetings and signage will be developed for the chamber area emphasizing this message.”

A chart in the memo also shows defaults for meetings under the new guidance, though individual council members may choose how to attend meetings and conduct committee meetings they chair.


Under Juarez’s guidance, members of the public will be allowed to attend full council briefing and business meetings virtually, as they have since 2020, or in person, while council members and meeting attendees/presenters will default to participating remotely. A “meeting support team” including clerks, Seattle Channel staff and security will be on site.

For committee meetings, the memo says members of the public, presenters and committee members will be allowed to participate either in person or remotely, while the support team and committee chair will be on-site.

“I want all of us to just kind of bear with the plan that we’re putting forward, the hybrid plan,” Juarez said Monday. “And I welcome — I’ve been on the phone with a couple council members — your questions and concerns.”

Last month, Juarez said she was not in a hurry to return to have the council return to in-person meetings, noting COVID safety and equity concerns.

“Right now our main concern of course is managing the risk of COVID in enclosed areas and managing safety concerns for the elected officials,” she said. 

“If we do return to in-person meetings, it will be a hybrid situation so everyone is comfortable.” 


A state law passed in March, allows governing bodies like the council to meet remotely if, after a declaration of a state of emergency, it “cannot hold a meeting of the governing body with 25 members or public attendance in person with reasonable safety because of the emergency.”

Still, a spokesperson for the city attorney said Friday, the office interprets current state law, without the governor’s orders, to mean that “there will need to be a physical location provided where a member of the public may attend in person,” noting that whether a council member chooses to attend in person will still be up to the council member, under current council rules.

The Metropolitan King County Council plans to return to hybrid in-person meetings, with both council members and the public able to participate remotely, on June 7, after a $100,000 upgrade to its legislative chamber to make it easier for the public to comment remotely.