Zoom Meetings Make State Government Accessible. But It’s Critical To Preserve In-Person Meetings

From this point forward, online systems — on Zoom or similar platforms — should always be available for the benefit of those who can’t attend public meetings. But that’s as far as it should go.

Vice President Kamala Harris, flanked by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (L), speaks to union workers who just received a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center set up at the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399 union hall on April 06, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images))

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s 27th disaster declaration regarding COVID-19 is set to end. In many respects, life will go back to normal. This includes in-person public meetings.

But wait. Even as the pandemic winds down, towns and cities across the state are making a push in the state legislature to try to make their meetings too Zoom-friendly.

Public squares, dating to ancient Greece, were areas where dialogue, protest and decisions took place on behalf of residents of their cities. The idea of heading to one location where people can see their elected officials, air their displeasure and even advocate for change is at the heart of any democracy. It should not be disrupted.

In the emerging post-pandemic context, here’s what that means.

Read more at the chicagotribune.com.