Surrey city Coun. Brenda Locke is expressing considerable trepidation over sitting next to Coun. Steven Pettigrew in council chambers. During last council meeting, Pettigrew refused to disclose his vaccination status against COVID-19.
If he is not vaccinated, Locke said, “I don’t want to sit by him. We sit so close together.”
Pettigrew could not be reached for comment. He was not at Monday night’s council meeting.
“I am an arm’s length away, we sit right beside each other,” Locke said.
Council members are currently separated by plexiglass but Locke notes there is a gap at the bottom through which council members can share documents with one another. “So what the heck is the point of it? And it only goes up so high.”
“I like Steven, personally I have no problem with the guy but you know, I’ve got a 92-year-old mom and I’ve got a pregnant daughter and this is too much to ask of anybody to sit, and we don’t wear masks in council chambers.”
During the Nov. 8 council meeting Pettigrew was the sole member to vote against requiring staff, volunteers and contractors to be fully vaccinated or submit to a rapid testing program if not. Speaking against it, he refused to reveal if he’s been vaccinated himself, saying “that’s really no one’s business but my own.”
Council also decided the same rules should apply to members of council as well. “I challenge the legality of this,” Pettigrew told his council colleagues.
Locke noted council said the new rules won’t kick in for a while. “They said we’re not going to do anything until next year,” she said, “and I said I’m not sitting beside him today, so you guys figure it out.”
“You could say I have concerns and they’ve been expressed to the clerk, absolutely.”
Locke also said it doesn’t make sense to her that the City of Surrey does not require vaccination passports for people attending the meetings in chambers, “and they’re sitting theatre style in there.”