Utah House leaders announced new guidelines Monday to prevent exposure and the possible spread of the coronavirus during the final days of the 2020 Legislature.
In an email to all Representatives, staffers and interns shared with UtahPolicy.com, House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said they would be implementing precautionary measures immediately to guard against transmission of the virus.
Lawmakers are being encouraged to refrain from face-to-face meetings with guests and to conduct business remotely “via technology where possible.” Legislators are also being discouraged from bringing guests onto the House floor when they are in session.
Interns have been asked to stay off the House floor while lawmakers are working, and House staff will only be allowed in the chamber to perform necessary functions.
Additionally, the main doors to the House chamber that open into the capitol rotunda will remain closed while the House is in session. House staffers often pass notes to lawmakers from the public and lobbyists through these doors. That practice will be suspended.
UtahPolicy.com is told there are no plans at this time to limit access to the House gallery.
Anyone who is ill or showing symptoms of illness have been asked to stay away from the capitol.
“These measures are intended to reduce contact between individuals and to maintain the health of lawmakers and staff throughout the remaining days of the session,” said Wilson in an email.
Senate leaders tell UtahPolicy.com they will issue similar guidelines for their members and staffers sometime on Monday.
On Friday, Governor Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency just hours before the first case of the coronavirus was confirmed in the state.