A letter to RTCA Members on Temporary Coverage Guidance Due to COVID-19
I am writing to inform you of temporary guidelines that will be forthcoming and enacted because of the COVID-19 pandemic that will affect newsgathering on Capitol Hill, starting with the Senate, which returns Monday.
These temporary guidelines will admittedly take some time to get used to for all parties, but the safety of Senators, Senate staff, and our Gallery members is of the Executive Committee’s utmost importance.
I met with Leader McConnell’s staff and the Senate Sergeant at Arms Office earlier this week to discuss these issues.
In accordance with CDC recommendations, we are asking that you make every effort to wear face coverings and maintain at least six feet of space between all persons when in public spaces.
The Senate Sergeant at Arms staff will provide masks to those who need one.
We request that you ask Senators to stop and speak with you before approaching them in order to maintain these guidelines. Senators are also being instructed to acknowledge whether or not they are taking questions.
The Senate Radio-TV Gallery will be issuing updated coverage guidance Friday, May 1. The Executive Committee worked with the Gallery on developing these guidelines, which we believe will help to ensure everyone’s safety on Capitol Hill. These guidelines may be updated based on what happens next week.
Additionally, the Office of Attending Physician and Senate Sergeant at Arms Office will be providing guidance to the Senate community on safe practices at the Capitol.
When the House returns, similar updated guidance will be provided from the House Radio-TV Gallery.
Safety is the Executive Committee’s top priority and we thank you for your cooperation.
Best wishes to you and your families.
Executive Committee of Correspondents Chair
Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association