The Delaware General Assembly is back in session on Tuesday but will hold all committee meetings and most floor debates virtually in the face of the omicron variant.
All committee meetings and floor debates will be livestreamed on the General Assembly's website legis.delaware.gov, leadership announced in a press release on Friday.
Lawmakers will meet in person only for floor debates at Legislative Hall in Dover on Thursdays, at least for the month of January.
When not in a pandemic, lawmakers typically meet in person on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during their six-month session that runs from January to the end of June.
Floor debates are also usually held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but lawmakers will be using those days only to hold committee meetings virtually.
Seating for public attendees on Thursdays will be limited and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Doors will open one hour before they are scheduled to vote, and masks will be required for lawmakers and laypeople.
The protocol is similar to last year and 2020 when lawmakers met virtually during times of high case rates and hospitalizations.
Hospitalizations are now at record-breaking highs, according to data published by the state.
"The sudden spike in COVID cases combined with the highly contagious nature of the Omicron pandemic demands that we take steps to protect our continuity of governance," said Senate President Pro Tempore David Sokola in a statement.
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Sarah Gamard covers government and politics for Delaware Online/The News Journal. Reach her at (302) 324-2281 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @SarahGamard.
This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Delaware General Assembly plans mostly virtual return to session