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Arizona Senate Announces COVID-19 Protocols

By Ben Giles
Published: Monday, December 21, 2020 - 5:38pm
Updated: Tuesday, December 22, 2020 - 3:59pm

Senate President Karen Fann
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann on May 8, 2020.

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann released COVID-19 protocols for the upcoming legislative session in January.

It requires anyone who enters the Senate building — visitors, staff and senators, some who have dismissed certain COVID-19 mitigation measures — to have their temperature checked and wear masks at all times.

Six feet of social distancing must be maintained whenever possible, and at all times during committee hearings and gatherings. Handshakes or any other physical contact is prohibited.

“This was not the scenario I had hoped for the 55th Legislature, but it is necessary to ensure we conduct legislative business and avoid disruption of the process to the best of our ability,” Fann wrote in an email to all senators and staff.

The policy includes strict details for monitoring symptoms and isolation requirements for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed, and requires staff to notify supervisors if they’re sick or test positive for COVID-19. Similar notification requirements are also made of visitors and senators.

The Senate will allow visitors, but only to attend scheduled meetings with lawmakers or staff, or to attend committee hearings.  

And visitors won’t be allowed to mill about — they’ll only be allowed in 10 minutes prior to hearings, and must leave the building immediately after it’s over.

Senate security is tasked with enforcing the protocols.

Fann wrote that breaking the rules could jeopardize the Senate’s ability to stay in session. Lawmakers cut the 2020 session short due to the pandemic.

“Failure to adhere could result in lack of quorums, inability to conduct voting and other work we need to accomplish, or ultimately session shutdown,” Fann wrote.