Updates on Open Public Meetings

Board Meetings after State Reopening

Revised June 30, 2021
(Download the PDF)

The Governor’s Office updated its Miscellaneous Venues guidance sometime between 12:40 and 1:40 p.m. on June 30, 2021. It now provides that the following apply to “governing bodies of public agencies opting to host in-person public meetings under the [OPMA], as permitted under Emergency Proclamation 20-28, et seq.

  1. No restrictions on capacity.
  2. No physical distancing requirements.
  3. Follow current applicable face covering requirements as outlined in:
    1. Proclamation 20-25, et seq.;
    1. Secretary of Health Order 20-3.2; and
    1. LNI Publication F4140179.

Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 8402 (2021) and Proclamation 20-28.15 extended Proclamation 20-28, et seq., “until the termination of the state of emergency…, or until rescinded by gubernatorial or legislative action, whichever occurs first…” Although Washington is reopening, the Governor has been clear that we aren’t out of the woods yet and the state of emergency remains in effect. The most recent version of Proclamation 20-28 addressing OPMA issues for public bodies, Proclamation 20-28.14, extended the prohibition on in-person meetings, but created an exemption for public meetings that “compl[y] with the guidelines for ‘business meetings,’ found in the ‘Miscellaneous Venues’ guidance…”

In other words, under the most recent Miscellaneous Venues guidance, there are no restrictions on capacity limitations on a public body’s meeting venue and no physical distancing requirements. However, masking requirements have not yet gone away. The Roadmap to Recovery continues to incorporate the CDC face covering guidance, which has stricter requirements for identified sensitive locations, including schools.

The requirements for mask wearing at board meetings for school board members and staff is unclear. The safest approach regarding mask wearing at board meetings is to require that if students will be present, everyone must be masked. Please consult with your own local public health officials and inquire about any local requirements that may apply in your area. For all legal matters, please consult with your own district attorney.

WSSDA will monitor information and update this document as more information becomes available.