WHILE not banned from the Red House, any unvaccinated MP must wear a double-mask while in the parliamentary chamber or on the precinct, Speaker Bridgid Annisette-George said on Friday in a statement to the House of Representatives.
She gave an update on covid19 protocols as the House resumed from recess for the first sitting of the second session of the twelfth Republican Parliament.
The Speaker said to assess the risk ahead of a return to normalcy, she had asked the Government and Opposition for data on the number of vaccinated and unvaccinated MPs, but the partial details she now had were insufficient to determine new measures to adopt towards normalcy.
She said only 14 MPs would be allowed in the chamber at any time, eight Government and six Opposition.
“Unvaccinated members will be required to double mask at all times whilst in the parliamentary precincts and in the chamber.
“Other members wishing to double-mask and members wishing to wear a face shield in addition to their black mask may do so.”
Annisette-George added, “All unvaccinated members who wish to make a contribution, regardless of the length, will be required to utilise the speaking booths.”
She said as more data becomes available on the numbers of vaccinated MPs, there will be an ongoing evaluation of risks so as to adopt a path to normalcy.
“I must emphasise that by these new measures no member – unvaccinated or vaccinated – is being barred from the parliamentary complex and/or from this chamber, but measures are being put in place, as done hitherto, to protect all members and staff in the execution of our constitutional obligations.”
The public gallery will be limited to five media personnel, all of whom must be vaccinated and masked, she added.
“I wish to advise that all staff who are directly and indirectly involved in parliamentary operations and the provision of services related to the comfort and safety of members while in the parliamentary complex are fully vaccinated and have done so voluntarily.”