COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Right now in Washington, extreme measures are being taken to protect lawmakers and the public from the growing threat of the coronavirus.
If fear of the virus doesn’t keep tourists at bay, then the police tape does instead.
“It’s the right thing to do to shut down the capitol for tours,” said Rep. Jim Banks, R-IN.
Rep. Banks says the shutdown is to protect everyone. The White House also canceled public tours.
“A lot of our students are very disappointed, especially our seniors,” said senior Keri Billings.
Billings flew to Washington from Hawaii with 24 students for a conference, but it was canceled. They got into the capitol before it closed, now they just want to go home.
“I think the kids haven’t really felt the magnitude of it because we’re still sightseeing a little bit but as chaperones we’re realizing the significance of whats happening,” said Billings.
This week, one of Washington Senator Maria Cantwell’s staff tested positive for the virus. Her office is closed.
Others, like Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, D-OH, have told staffers to work from home.
“We made a decision as I would guess many of my colleagues will make in the next few hours,” said Sen. Brown.
Rep. Susan Brooke, R-IN, says lawmakers are following the advice of authorities.
“People need to not be out in public, people need to be doing all the things that the cdc and everyone is telling them to do and they need to be a part of this solution,” said Brooke.
The public should prepare itself for more closures, said Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan.
“We’re going to be in for a ride here for a couple months and I think we need to be honest about that to the American people,” said Ryan.
Outside the disruption continues, but Congress remains at work on the inside, hoping to vote on a coronavirus relief package soon.