Dubuque City Council meeting held virtually due to COVID-19 spread

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) -- The City Council chambers in Dubuque were empty on Monday, despite the Council being in session.

City Council held its meeting virtually from remote locations in Dubuque on March 23, 2020. (Maggie Wedlake/KCRG)

The meeting was held remotely due to COVID-19. Community members were still able to submit questions beforehand via email or through comments on the Facebook Live stream.

This was the first city meeting to use this format, but City Clerk Kevin Firnstahl said it won't be the last.

"We just have a lot of essential services for a city of 50,000 people that need to keep going, and one of those processes is the City Council meetings," Firnstahl said. "Everything comes down from them in terms of direction and policy so that has to continue no matter what."

Due to Iowa's open meetings laws, there must remain a central location for the public to come and listen to the discussion. So, the council meeting was streamed in the chambers for any people who had no other way of watching online.

However, only the first ten people were allowed to stay due to social distancing rules.

Different local boards and commissions are looking to turn to this format of a meeting if they require public input.