Florida Senate finalizes Organizational Session COVID-19 procedures

With two weeks until lawmakers first convene to prepare themselves for the 2021 Legislative Session, Senate President-Designate Wilton Simpson is asking Senators to follow special virus protocols for the Organizational Session.

Senators must be tested for the COVID-19 virus by Nov. 16, the day before the Organizational Session begins. No district staff will be allowed to travel to the Session.

Only newly elected senators will be allowed to bring a spouse or guest on the Senate Floor, and only those senators will be ceremonially sworn in.

Senators will be asked to follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks, including guests 2 or older and who can remove masks without assistance. Face coverings worn on the Senate Floor must be solid-colored with no pattern or logos, other than the Senate Seal. Face shields will also be available for senators and staff.

The protocols are temporary, Simpson emphasized, and future protocols will be updated as medical professionals track what’s necessary with the dynamic pandemic.

Activities will be limited to the required election of officers and adoption of rules, as well as the ceremonial swearing in of newly elected senators.

Other traditions like family events and congregate meals won’t happen during the Organizational Session.

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