Senate chamber closed after COVID case

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – The Massachusetts Senate chamber will be closed until Monday after a person who was in the State House and the chamber on Friday tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email sent to senators and staff around 10 p.m. Monday.

The email, from Senate President Karen Spilka’s chief of staff Mary Anne Padien, said that environmental cleaning would take place that night, and that anyone who had close contact with the person at the State House had been notified.

The State House has been closed to the public since mid-March, though it still hosts legislative sessions and Gov. Charlie Baker’s press conferences, both with fewer in-person participants than would be typical pre-pandemic.

The Senate is moving its Thursday informal session to Room 428, and Padien said only senators and staff “required for the efficient operation of the session should be present in room 428 on Thursday.”

The Senate was in session for about two hours on Friday, including recesses, to take its final votes on the fiscal 2021 budget. Senators and staff have been asked to work remotely.

“If for any reason staff or members need to be in the building they must wear a well-fitted mask that completely covers mouth and nose,” Padien wrote. “People should keep at least 6 feet apart and windows should be opened a few inches in any occupied room. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the building and elevator occupancy is limited.”

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