When the House of Representatives goes into session this afternoon at 1:30 for its 23rd Sitting, it will be doing so under stricter measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 among staff and Parliamentarians, alike.

In a recent news release, the Parliament Secretariat announced several social distancing measures in this regard.

New seating arrangements have been put in place for Parliamentarians.  Some Members will be seated in the Chambers while others will be seated in meeting rooms throughout the Parliamentary Complex with access to television screens to view the proceedings. If a vote is called for, those Members not seated in the Chamber will be allowed a few minutes to get to the Chamber where they will cast their vote then return to their meeting rooms.

Members of the public will not be granted access to the Parliamentary precincts during the current COVID-19 crisis. Instead, citizens are advised to view the sittings and committee meetings on the Parliament Channel, Parliament Radio 105.5 FM or via the Parliament’s YouTube Channel, ParlView.

In addition, another social distancing measure being implemented is that the number of media personnel allowed in the Media Galleries has been limited to five. Media personnel are now required to wear a face mask at all times while at the Parliamentary Complex—face masks which must be of a dark colour to avoid causing distractions.

During this afternoon’s Parliamentary Session, Minister of National Security, Stuart Young MP, will move the second reading of The Administration of Justice (Electronic Monitoring) (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

Also, Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert MP, is expected to lay before Parliament, the Value Added Tax (Bond-Payment Refund) Regulations, 2020, which lays the groundwork for VAT refunds to be paid to the business community.