By Guy Page
Everyone over two years of age entering the State House now must wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status, the Joint Rules Committee decided Sept. 7.
The new policy, as published on the Vermont Legislature website, states:
- The facial covering shall completely cover the individual’s nose and mouth.
- Individuals who do not comply with this policy will be asked to leave, and may be escorted from the location by the Sergeant at Arms or Capitol Police if noncompliance continues.
- Lawmakers who flout the policy may not be recognized by their committee chairs: “the Sergeant at Arms and/or Capitol Police is authorized to escort a member of a committee or a Chair may choose to not to recognize a member of the committee until that member is in compliance with the facial covering policy.”
- The Sergeant at Arms may grant medical or religious exemptions, but for exemptees “proof of a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours shall be required for entrance into legislative space. Those who cannot provide proof of a recent negative COVID test shall be permitted to participate in proceedings remotely, except when otherwise prohibited by Rule.”
- Facial coverings may only be removed while eating in the cafeteria, eating in a private office, or when an individual is alone or with other members of their department in a non-public area of the State House and all present in the room agree that they are comfortable with others removing their facial coverings.
- In all instances when facial coverings are not being worn, effort should be made to ensure appropriate distance is maintained between individuals, and to replace facial coverings as soon as practicable.
Vermonters unwilling to wear masks in the People’s House will be able to participate via Zoom. The policy is in effect until further notice. A legislative study committee this summer decided to not require proof of vaccination for entry into the State House.
Categories: State Government