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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is urging her colleagues in Congress to take precautions to fend off the spread of coronavirus.
“In a bipartisan consultation with the Attending Physician and the Sergeant at Arms, and out of an abundance of caution, I am writing to encourage you to take steps to promote social distancing within your Washington D.C. office as we engage in the District Work Period,” the California Democrat wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter on Sunday.
Pelosi suggested that offices consider deploying half their staff to work from home to limit traffic at the Capitol and shared guidance to members on how to best advise staff to work from home.
The U.S. Capitol complex has been closed to the general public.
Members of Congress cannot vote remotely, but there is bipartisan legislation to change that policy. The policy would take time to implement as it requires the development of a secure online voting tool for Congress.
Several lawmakers have entered self-quarantines after coming in contact with people who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. At least one Senate staff member has tested positive for the illness since the outbreak began.
Pelosi, 79, and many other members of Congress fall into the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s high-risk age groups who could suffer more severe cases of the coronavirus than younger individuals.