In a video address posted on The City of Irvine’s Facebook page, Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan announced the City of Irvine would reopen City Hall, along with other services, like the senior centers, officially to the public on Tuesday, June 15.
In the video, Khan said she was excited to welcome the public back to Irvine City Hall, adding that the public will be able to attend City Council meetings in person, starting Tuesday, June 15.
“City Council and City Commission meetings will resume a pre-COVID format, allowing opportunities for the public to attend in person as soon as June 15,” Khan said in her video address. “More than one year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic quickly brought many changes to our community including the way the City of Irvine serves its residents, businesses, and visitors. City Hall and City facilities have been closed to the public to ensure the safety of our community and employees, and many services were reimagined into a “Digital City Hall.”
Khan added that while the public was not able to access city buildings, Irvine took the opportunity to add upgrades, like electric vehicle charging stations to City Hall, as well as adding digital services for community access, adding that those digital services will continue through the Digital City Hall.
During The Irvine City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 8, Council member Larry Agran, who has yet to attend an Irvine City Council meeting in person since being elected to the Irvine City Council in November, extended his appreciation to city staff for giving him the ability to conduct council business virtually since the pandemic began.
“I wanted to indicate my appreciation, during this period of pandemic, I wanted to indicate our appreciation to our management staff, and to our technical staff for making it possible for me and others to participate remotely in our council meetings,” Agran said via Zoom. “I look forward to soon returning to City Hall, the council chambers and to having residents and others be able to join us in person.”
Vice Mayor Tammy Kim, who was elected to the council in November, said she was she has been craving the “full experience” of city council meetings with the public being able to attend in person. Kim, who received more votes than any other Irvine candidate — ever, said the next Irvine City Council meeting will be her first official meeting, as a council member, with the public present.
“I’m really excited to have our residents come back and being able to see them in person. Since I’ve been elected, I haven’t been able to fully experience having a chamber full of residents. It will be great to actually experience it for the first time,” Kim wrote in a text message to Irvine Weekly.
Irvine Council member Anthony Kuo said he sees Irvine City Hall, as the home of the city’s community organizations, and said the return of in-person meetings give the public an opportunity for, “more genuine conversation.”
“I’ve often told youth in Irvine, including our Cub Scouts, “This is your building. You and your families are taxpayers, so you own City Hall,” so it will be wonderful to re-open our facilities for our community,” Kuo wrote in a text to Irvine Weekly. “I think In-person meetings provide for more genuine conversation. You’re able to see reactions to certain comments and come to a more cohesive consensus.”
Aside from aspects of Irvine government reopening, there are several businesses and attractions reopening on June 15, including the Giant Wheel, and The Carousel at the Irvine Spectrum are also expected to reopen after more than a year of closures.