Internal memo reveals measures one congressional office is taking to protect elder lawmaker from coronavirus

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Congressional staffers are going to great lengths to protect members from the coronavirus, an internal memo obtained by Fox News from the office of one senior citizen lawmaker reveals.

That includes instructing aides not to shake hands, hug or kiss. Staffers are also being asked to prevent people from touching the lawmaker they work for during photo ops.

The memo, written by a Capitol Hill chief of staff, comes as senior aides have been venting about the fact business on Capitol Hill is continuing as usual even as the coronavirus spreads around the world, including in the United States.

Additionally, the Office of the Attending Physician at the Capitol has been recommending social distancing protocols and more to protect America's leaders from a virus that is significantly more dangerous to older people and those with compromised immune systems.


"I am concerned that we are not doing enough on the social distancing front, especially given the age of our Member. It is critical that we all work to protect ourselves and [redacted] in every way we can," the memo, which redacts the member's name, reads. "We are working on limiting [redacted]’s exposure to large social gatherings, to the extent we can. I recognize this is incredibly challenging, given the expectations of Members of Congress, the outpouring of affection [redacted] receives at events, and the manner in which we are accustomed to engaging each other in the social/political context."

The memo emphasizes in bold: "That said — it is absolutely imperative that we limit [redacted]’s’ (and our own) physical contact as much as possible during the coming weeks — no handshakes, no hugs, no kissing, keeping appropriate distance from others, etc. [Redacted] should also not be touching people for photo ops. As staff — we are the first line of defense for [redacted]. That is why I am imploring every staffer who is with [redacted]at events to encourage responsible distancing — for [redacted] protection and yours."


One senior House aide told Fox News that individual offices are implementing certain protocols for their staffers because congressional leaders appear unwilling to do so. Currently, members of Congress are working to hash out a second spending bill dedicated to fighting the coronavirus, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it could be released as early as this week.

The revelations in the memo come as the World Health Organization declared its first pandemic since 2009 over the coronavirus threat, meaning that it recommends governments put into place "higher-level, emergency-grade response plans at state and local levels."

Nearly 4,300 people had died from the coronavirus worldwide as of Wednesday.

Fox Business' Evie Fordham contributed to this report.