SPRINGFIELD – Amid an ongoing decline of COVID-19 hospitalizations, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch announced on Monday that the House Chamber is relaxing some of the mitigations that were necessary during the height of the pandemic. The gallery will be open to members of the public at 50% capacity and outside visitors, such as clergy and pages, will be allowed on the floor.
“It has been a very long two years and I’m incredibly grateful for the diligence of members and staff in the Capitol,” said Speaker Welch. “We are all eager to get back to a sense of normalcy as we also work to maintain a healthy and safe environment for everyone.”
As the House enters third reading deadline week, members and staff will spend a significant amount of time in close proximity with one another on the House floor. For this reason, as well as several counties throughout the state still showing a high risk for transmission, masks will still be required. Per Secretary of State guidance, all individuals are recommended to wear a face covering in the Capitol Complex buildings as well.
“We have staff members who test positive every week through the mandatory SHIELD testing,” said Speaker Welch. “When they test positive, not only are they out of the workplace for a week, but so is anyone that they’ve come in contact with.
Additionally, we have members, staff and their family members who remain at an increased risk of getting seriously ill if they contract the virus or are unable to be vaccinated. We need to get our work done before adjournment and take necessary steps to keep everyone safe.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sangamon County is currently classified as medium risk for transmission. The Capitol draws individuals from all across Illinois and masks are a proven tool to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in congregate settings like the House floor.
The Office of the Speaker will continue to closely monitor transmission levels and protocols may be revised in the future.
Visit Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch’s website
300 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
10055 W. Roosevelt Rd.
Westchester, IL 60154
(708) 450-1104 FAX