Morris Herald-News: Kinzinger announces safety precautions for D.C. office amid COVID-19 concerns

Congressman makes changes after increased COVID-19 information

On Thursday, the Office of the Sergeant at Arms announced their decision to limit access to the Capitol complex in order to protect members, staff, and visitors.

As such, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) will temporarily close his Washington, D.C. office to visitors starting Friday, March 13, and allow D.C.-based staff to telecommute during this time.

“As we face this record-breaking flu season and the rapidly growing concerns over the coronavirus, information is power and taking precautions is critical. It’s important that we equip people with all the tools they need to stay healthy, and take the necessary actions to ensure their safety. And the same goes for my staff," Kinzinger said in a news release. “With the number of visitors coming to Capitol Hill each day, the risks of exposure to this highly contagious respiratory illness increases drastically.

"For weeks, I’ve been asking colleagues and House leadership to take action to protect the thousands who visit these buildings every day and those who work here," the release continued. "I’ve been disappointed by the inaction and find it irresponsible to put the health and safety of tourists, staff, visitors, and Members at such risk. This situation deserves leadership and a sensible course of action, and so today, I’m taking matters into my own hands."

Kinzinger said he and staff would be available by phone and email, and did not anticipate any disruption in operations. Local offices will stay open for the time being.

"My offices across the 16th Congressional District of Illinois will remain open and operating as usual, and staff there will take the necessary steps to ensure their safety and the safety of our constituents," Kinzinger said. "Please continue to call and reach out, and we will be ready to address your concerns. The reality is that the spread of the coronavirus is a pandemic and it deserves to be taken seriously. Taking this seriously does not mean it’s a cause for panic or fear-mongering. We are a strong, capable nation and I know that if we make practical decisions, prepare ourselves as best we can, and support each other, we will pull through this crisis and come out even stronger on the other side."

On Thursday, Kinzinger posted to his Twitter account that he has been in contact with health care providers in the 16th District regarding local plans to deal with the pandemic.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced earlier this week additional funding for state and local entities in Illinois, which will help in providing test materials and resources for medical centers.


The original article can be found on the Morris Herald-News website here.