NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Like many places re-opening after being shuttered because of COVID-19; masks, social distancing, and constant cleaning will be part of a daily routine when Tennessee legislative staffers return to work Monday.
“We plan on having staff go back, especially those who don’t have medical conditions that put them in the vulnerable population,” said House Speaker Cameron Sexton this week.
Down the hill from the Tennessee State Capitol is the Cordell Hull Building. It houses legislative offices where potentially hundreds of staffers are scheduled to go back to work next week to help prepare for lawmakers’ return on June 1.
“Members will start coming back. We will slowly integrate the public back into the Cordell Hull Building as we look to start [the] session,” added Speaker Sexton.
Sexton said the hallways of the legislative office building won’t look the same with a variety of recommendations that will be implemented which include CDC guidelines such as wearing masks while in common areas, keeping doors shut while in offices, and maintaining six feet of social distancing.
“We are looking at their process and procedures—our cleaning, people needing to wear masks, temperature checks. We are going through all those scenarios with our clerks, the Senate with our HR and building maintenance people,” said Speaker Sexton.
Governor Bill Lee and legislative leaders say redoing the state budget is their main priority when their session resumes.
Speaker Sexton said the budget passed on an emergency basis before lawmakers recessed in mid-March could have up to a $700 million shortfall.
Falling state sales tax collections are likely a major part of that due as people have cut back spending because of COVID-19.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.