Pelosi calls on House lawmakers to practice 'social distancing'

Pelosi calls on House lawmakers to practice 'social distancing'
© Greg Nash

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death 5 things to know about US-China tensions over Hong Kong Pelosi calls Trump's decision to withdraw US from WHO 'an act of extraordinary senselessness' MORE (D-Calif.) on Sunday called on members of Congress to practice “social distancing” in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

“As you know, at the direction of the Sergeant at Arms, the House and Senate have canceled Capitol tours for now.  As the House continues our work to confront this public health emergency, we must ensure that we can continue to serve our constituents effectively,” Pelosi said in a Dear Colleague letter.

“The health and safety of our staff is essential to this mission. In 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,” she added. “This may entail more than half of your Washington staff teleworking from home.”

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Pelosi’s announcement comes the same day a former staffer with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffFlynn urged Russian diplomat to have 'reciprocal' response to Obama sanctions, new transcripts show The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order targeting social media legal protections | House requests conference with Senate after FISA vote canceled | Minneapolis systems temporarily brought down by hackers MORE’s (D-Calif.) office was confirmed to have tested positive for the virus.

“Medical professionals believe that my former staff member likely contracted the virus after leaving the office, but we will still be taking additional precautions over the next few days,” Schiff said in a statement. “The former staffer is feeling better and no current staff have reported any flu-like symptoms at this time.”

Several individual members of Congress have also entered voluntary self-quarantines after possible exposure, including Reps. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzTrump signs order targeting social media firms' legal protections Trump to order review of law protecting social media firms after Twitter spat: report On The Money: US tops 100,000 coronavirus deaths with no end in sight | How lawmaker ties helped shape Fed chairman's COVID-19 response | Tenants fear mass evictions MORE (R-Fla.), Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsGOP women's group rolls out endorsements ahead of contested races Bossie, Lewandowski warned Trump he was in trouble in 2020: report The Hill's Campaign Report: GOP beset by convention drama MORE (R-Ga.), Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarConservative lawmakers press Trump to suspend guest worker programs for a year Impeachment figure among those chosen for Facebook's new oversight board Cruz rebukes San Antonio City Council for denouncing 'Chinese virus' as hate speech MORE (R-Az.).