Georgia lawmakers to be tested for COVID twice a week

Members of the Georgia House of Representatives will be required to wear masks and be tested for COVID twice weekly in the upcoming legislative session, Speaker David Ralston announced Wednesday. (FILE PHOTO BY ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Members of the Georgia House of Representatives will be required to wear masks and be tested for COVID twice weekly in the upcoming legislative session, Speaker David Ralston announced Wednesday. (FILE PHOTO BY ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Georgia lawmakers and their employees must be tested for COVID twice a week in the upcoming legislative session as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage across the state.

State senators and representatives and legislative employees also will be required to wear masks during the session, which begins Jan. 11. In the House, they will be permitted – but not required – to remove their masks while addressing the House or speaking at committee meetings. But they must replace their masks promptly when done speaking.

House Speaker David Ralston announced the measures in a memo to House members and employees on Wednesday. The Senate announced its measures Dec. 22.

The pandemic disrupted the 2020 legislative session, which was suspended for weeks and did not complete its work until June.

For the upcoming session, the COVID tests will be administered two mornings a week by Georgia Tech. Results generally will be available by the end of the day. Both chambers will employ contract tracing in the event of a positive test result.

The House will once again suspend its page program, as it did during the session restart in June, and lawmakers will not bring in guests to be presented in the chamber.

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