The Vernon Township Council on Nov. 15 approved its regulations for hybrid meetings, which require attendees to wear masks at all times, except when speaking during public comment sessions.
No more than 25 public participants are allowed in the council chambers during any hybrid meeting. They must maintain six feet of distance between their chairs, except for family members, who may choose to move their chairs closer together.
The resolution is backed up a previous resolution requiring emailed comments to be sent to the township clerk by 4 p.m. on the day of the meeting.
Even though it is not required by the state, Vernon has maintained a mask mandate inside its municipal building since March 15, 2020.
“I think we’ve always done it for the benefit of people that work here, as well as people visiting here,” business administrator Charles Voelker said. “That’s why we’ve supplied masks at the front desk.”
Mayor Howard Burrell said the resolution applies only to township council meetings, and not visits to the municipal building during regular business hours. When he performs weddings — he has performed about 20 — he tells people he’s vaccinated and has had his booster. If they request that he remove his mask, he does it.
“If you don’t want to have masks on in here, I’m not going to object,” Burrell said. “It puts me in a position where if I come in here during the daytime, I have to wear a mask, and if I come in here during a meeting, I don’t, and I don’t want to get into all this political stuff. But if I had to cast the vote, I would vote for consistency.”