House releases COVID-19 protocols for committee weeks
Photo: Mark Wallheiser.

Final Days of the 2017 Florida Legislature
Committee weeks launch Jan.11

The Florida House on Friday released its official COVID-19 protocols for the 2021 committee weeks.

The six protocols, crafted by Speaker Pro Tempore Bryan Avila, are intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 for lawmakers, employees and visitors at the Capitol during the five committee weeks.

Notably, the House will split committee blocks into two and implement an alternate schedule. The result, a news release said, will reduce the number of days lawmakers will need to be in Tallahassee.

The House will also require one-hour sanitation breaks between meetings to disinfect rooms and replace microphone shields. All committee rooms will feature medical-grade HEPA filters.

Committee rooms will be limited to Webster Hall, Morris and, Reed Hall and Sumner Hall during committee weeks. The audience within the rooms will be limited and socially distanced.

Alternatively, those interested in the meetings — including lobbyists and advocates — can view all meetings online and provide written statements.

“On certain issues of great public significance and when scheduling allows, we will also have expanded seating capacity for on-site virtual testimony,” the announcement said.

All Capitol visitors will be required to wear a face-covering and remain socially distanced.

House members, however, are “asked to wear a mask” when around others.

Those experiencing COVID-like symptoms or who recently tested positive for the highly contagious virus will not be permitted into House spaces.

The House will provide COVID-19 testing for lawmakers and legislative employees during Organization Session. A negative test is required to access House spaces.

The House protocol encourages all members and assistants to arrive in Tallahassee a day before launch to be tested.

District legislative assistants are the only staff approved to work in each Member’s Capitol Office.

Committee weeks launch Jan.11 and will continue on Jan.25, Feb.1, Feb. 8 and Feb. 15.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


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