After restricting the public from accessing the capitol building for nearly a year, the State Preservation Board announced the state capitol building would once again be open to the public – but not without a mixture of limitations.
Beginning this week on Monday, January 4, the capitol building, and grounds were officially opened to the public, according to a document released by the state.
The capitol will be open on weekdays from 9 AM to 6 PM and will be closed on weekends for cleaning, but there will be a mixture of restrictions and conditions.
First, the public may only enter through the north door, and all visitors will be required to wear a mask that expressly covers their mouth and nose, in addition to observing social distancing guidelines.
Not all lawmakers were receptive to the restrictions.
State Rep. Mayes Middleton (R-Wallisville) weighed in on the opening of the capitol via his campaign Facebook page, saying, “I’m totally against restrictions on peoples’ ability to go in the Capitol and make their voice heard in person. Legislators are not some special class of people — and I just don’t agree that we should have some special set of rules that’s protecting us as politicians.”
Meanwhile, the Senate also announced their own set of COVID related restrictions.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued a release describing the restrictions the Senate is putting in place for members of the upper chamber, their guests, and staff.
According to the release, Senators will be limited to three guest passes for the Senate gallery, and the statement says the Senators have agreed to all be tested for COVID-19. The release also says the Senator’s staff and guests will also be tested, but it doesn’t clarify whether that testing will be mandatory or voluntary.
Rules restrictions for the Texas House of Representatives have not yet been issued but are expected to be issued before the legislature convenes on January 12.
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