The State House to reopened to the public Monday, May 24th, for first time in over a year. The Legislative Council voted Thursday of last week to reopen the State House to the public on the condition that all visitors wear masks.
The building has been closed since March 2020 to comply with physical distancing and other safety restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The council voted 6-2 Thursday to reopen the building, with one member absent and another abstaining. Lawmakers have been meeting at the Augusta Civic Center, which has space to allow for social distancing.
Thursday’s vote followed a lengthy discussion about how to implement a safe return, said House Speaker Ryan Fecteau, D-Biddeford.
The full Legislature will resume holding floor sessions at the State House on June 2. Legislators have updated the COVID-19 Prevention Policy to eliminate social distancing requirements, but will still require lawmakers to wear face coverings in shared spaces. Legislative committee work will continue to be conducted virtually through the end of the session.