Senators and families attending swearing-in photo-opportunity ceremonies Tuesday with Vice President Kamala Harris must test negative for COVID-19.
The policy is similar to the one the White House imposed on guests who meet with President Joe Biden. The ceremony will air on C-SPAN to begin the political drama in the House, where Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., struggles to get the votes necessary to become speaker.
"The Vice President's office has requested that we send their standard COVID-19 protocol information to offices participating in the reenactment opportunity in the Old Senate Chamber. Please see their suggested process below," according to an email from the Senate Sergeant at Arms Protocols Office obtained by Breitbart News.
Sources have said some senators are "so upset" that they might not participate, although none has been quoted.
Earlier Tuesday, Harris will swear in the new senators at the Senate Chamber. Returning senators do not need to be sworn in again.
An email from Grisella Martinez of Harris' Legislative Affairs also notes the policy.
"We look forward to welcoming your Senator on Jan. 3, 2023, to the ceremonial reenactment for incoming and newly re-elected Senators in the Old Senate Chamber," she wrote. "As you are aware, White House COVID-19 protocols require that anyone over two-years of age who will interact with the Vice President take a medically-administered antigen test within 24 hours prior to interaction and receive a negative result. This policy applies regardless of vaccination status."
The protocol comes months after Biden announced the pandemic was "over." There are still spikes in cases, and the administration has urged people to get vaccine booster shots.
Two years ago, with the pandemic in full force, Vice President Mike Pence held swearing-in duties days with a laissez-faire attitude on masks.
"People have been doing it — completely your call — masks on or masks off," Pence sporting a mask, said after giving an elbow bump to Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
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