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West Virginia State Senate outlines media operational guidelines for 85th Legislature

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Senate has released the following safety and operational media guidelines for the first session of the 85th West Virginia Legislature, which resumes on Wednesday:

Social Distancing and Hygiene

Members of the Press, while in the Capitol, shall observe all social distancing and hygiene
guidelines recommended by the CDC (i.e. keeping at least six feet apart when possible; coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your inner elbow and washing hands immediately thereafter with warm water and soap; using hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol frequently while in the office and when unable to wash hands; avoiding touching your face, etc.).

Face coverings should be worn in all public areas of the Capitol.

Floor Sessions

Members of the press will be given access to the East Gallery (center gallery) along with
guests of the members of the Senate. To maintain social distancing guidelines, each gallery will be limited to 18 people on a first come, first serve basis.

All floor sessions will be streamed live tor public viewing.

Members of the press should wear a face covering at all times while in the Chamber. Members of the press who wish to interview a member before or after floor session can
work with the Senate Communications Director to arrange those interviews at a location that allows for proper social distancing.

Committee Meetings

Committee meeting rooms will be limited to members, essential staff, and a limited number
of press and other persons. Members will be able to participate in committee meetings remotely from their capitol offices. All persons in the committee room are required to wear a face covering.

Members may remove their face covering when recognized to speak. Other than members and staff, attendance in the Finance Committee Room (M-451) will be limited to 10 persons and the Judiciary Committee Room (W-208) will be limited to 12 persons.

When possible, to ensure social distancing, committees may meet in the Chamber. All
persons are required to wear a face covering during committee meetings in the Chamber.

For members who choose not to wear a face covering, you will be required to sit at the press tables at the back of the chamber. Only Members and essential staff will be permitted floor privileges.

Members of the press will be given access to the East Gallery (center gallery). All others will be given access to the north and south galleries. To maintain social distancing guidelines, each gallery will be limited to 18 people. All committee meetings, whether held in the committee rooms or the Chamber, will be streamed live for public viewing.

Member Availability with the Press

To minimize traffic in and out of the Capitol, it is encouraged that members of the press
conduct interviews remotely or by telephone when possible. If interviews cannot be held remotely, they should be scheduled with the member by appointment.

Please contact Communications Director, Jacque Bland, at 304-357-7999 (304-590-4678 cell) or at [email protected] for assistance in setting up in-person interviews. All in-person interviews should be conducted according to appropriate social distancing guidelines.

At times, members of the Senate may hold in-person press conferences in designated areas
which allow for social distancing. Such press conferences will be announced with as much
advanced notice as possible to allow for media to set up an at appropriate distances and place equipment to ensure they are able to capture audio and video.

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