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Steve Fenske May 22, 2020

Guidance from State Fire Marshal on Building Occupant Capacity

As townships return to in-person meetings, they must continue to maintain appropriate social distance among all attendees. Town boards should establish a room occupancy limit that ensures appropriate social distancing can be maintained. While the Open Meeting Law allows the public to attend town meetings, the occupant capacity of any room should be limited for the safety of those inside. Usually the occupancy limit is placed based on fire safety concerns, but the need for social distancing has provided another reason to limit the room occupancy. The State Fire Marshal provides guidance on determining safe occupancy limits, which can be used to determine the capacity a town board should allow in the meeting room during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click Here to down the Fire Marshal’s Guidance on this issue.

The Board of Supervisors may impose a room capacity limit on their meeting space, but it should be based on the actually capacity of the room to accommodate social distancing. Town Boards should continue to have a teleconference line in use for the use of the public and any town officer who does not want to attend the meeting in person, or who may be unable to enter the room because of room capacity limits.

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