The Annapolis legislative complex will remain closed to the public through at least Labor Day, according to a memo detailing the recommendations of a bipartisan group of staffers from the House, Senate, and Department of Legislative Services concerning the parameters for reopening the complex to members, staff, and visitors.
According to the memo:
Public accessibility to the legislative complex is a cornerstone of a fair and transparent lawmaking process. The pandemic has posed unique challenges to that philosophy.
After discussing with leadership, we are continuing with our telework policy throughout the summer, with no immediate plans to open the complex to the public before Labor Day. This includes the legislative complex and we encourage the same of member district offices, particularly since many member offices are small and/or shared spaces.
Further, when the complex reopens, it will do so in the following phases:
- Phase 1 – referenced above, maintaining telework. The building is accessible to members and staff to occasionally come in as they have been to work or to retrieve files or supplies;
- Phase 2 – Opening the buildings to members and staff to resume daily work;
- Phase 3 – Reopening of the buildings to outside visitors and the general public,
Meetings within the complex will not be permitted until the second phase of reopening. At that point, outside guests will be admitted by appointment only and will require a staff escort to and from their meeting location. These guidelines will apply regardless of whether the guest is a state employee, member of the press, lobbyist, or any other visitor.
This year, for the first time in since the Civil War, the General Assembly closed session early on March 18, due to precautionary social distancing measures taken to curb the spread of COVID-19. The legislative complex has been closed to the public since March 12.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.