House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reprimanded the members of Congress for ignoring social distancing rules during an intervention where an objection to seating new House members of the 117 Congress was being resolved on the House floor.
Pelosi told lawmakers that pandemic health and safety guidelines must be adhered to on the House floor at all times.
The intervention was made necessary when Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) challenged the seating of newly elected representatives from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, where election results are contested.
After Roy objected, there was a span of about 12 minutes during which many members gathered in small groups, chatting with their masks and milling about on the House floor having side conversations.
Although all members were wearing a mask as they gathered in small groups and waited to reconvene, they were not socially distanced. The speaker made it clear that members are not to mill about on the floor but to leave during such times.
“As we go forward, please note with respect the guidance set forth by the Office of the Attending Physician and the Sergeant at Arms. When staff urge you to leave the Floor, it is not a suggestion. It is a direction, in the interest of keeping Congress healthy and intact.”
Pelosi’s office did not respond to a request for comment.