NEWBURYPORT -- The City Council might adopt an emergency rule to cancel all of its in-person meetings indefinitely in favor of virtual meetings through the online video conferencing platform Zoom.

During a meeting held via conference call Sunday night, the council's newly appointed Remote Participation Committee unanimously recommended the council adopt the rule in order to deal with the spread of coronavirus. The public would be able to participate in the virtual meetings.

The Remote Participation Committee is an ad hoc committee created by Council President Jared Eigerman to study, recommend, and help to implement procedures for the City Council and its various committees to conduct meetings on an emergency basis using remote participation by members, city staff, and the public, consistent with recent orders given by Gov. Charlie Baker.

The committee consists of Eigerman, Councilor At-large Bruce Vogel and Ward 1 Councilor Sharif Zeid, who was selected as the committee's chair because of his computer skills, according to an email from Eigerman. City Clerk Richard Jones was also appointed as a non-voting member of the committee.

According to Eigerman's email, Zeid is writing up a final draft of the policy, which will be considered for adoption during an emergency special City Council meeting, to be held either Monday night or Tuesday morning via Zoom. The date and time of the meeting have not been announced yet.

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