Legislative building to open next week to public

Christine T. Nguyen—The North State Journal
Members of the North Carolina House of Representatives at the General Assembly (Christine T. Nguyen | The North State Journal)

RALEIGH — The public can return to North Carolina’s legislative complex to watch the General Assembly conduct business when it reconvenes its annual session after a two-week break, but health precautions will continue.

The Legislative Building and nearby Legislative Office Building will be reopen to visitors on Monday, four weeks after they were closed. House and Senate galleries were empty except for media and staff when lawmakers met for a week until May 2 to pass a COVID-19 relief package.

Maximum attendance in each building will be limited to 50% of fire code capacity, according to the offices of Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore. They said members, staff and visitors should expect temperature checks for now when going inside.

While social distancing practices will be maintained in the buildings, the public is still encouraged to hold remote meetings with legislators when feasible. The House and Senate will keep separate parliamentary rules on voting, committee meetings and floor sessions, the legislative leaders said in a news release.

The Senate plans to return to largely normal operations. The House will keep to online committees and other emergency rules it approved last month, Rules Committee Chairman David Lewis tweeted on Thursday.