The Speaker of the House of Assembly announces that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Government has advised that the House will not resume in accordance with the Parliamentary Calendar on Monday, March 23. In order to deal with business of urgent public importance in this unprecedented situation, the House will meet on Thursday, March 26 at 1:30 p.m. In accordance with the resolution adopted on March 12, the Speaker has consulted with the Opposition and confirmed their agreement with the approach outlined.
As a result of consultation and agreement between Government and Opposition, and based on the latest guidance from Federal and Provincial Government public health officials to help protect the safety and well-being of the public, employees, Members, and other stakeholders, the following measures will be put in place:
- Minimum quorum of Members for the House to exercise its powers in accordance with the Standing Orders will be present (10 Members, including the Speaker/Chair). Members in attendance will be decided collaboratively between Government and Opposition.
- It is understood that Members will consent to waiving Routine Business (Members’ Statements, Ministerial Statements, Oral Questions, etc.) and business will proceed immediately to Notices of Motion and Orders of the Day.
- Revised seating plan will be implemented to ensure social distancing between Members, and House officials in the Chamber will be kept to the minimum.
- Live video of proceedings, including closed captioning, will be available via the regular channels (House of Assembly broadcast channel and House of Assembly website at assembly.nl.ca).
- Hansard will be made available at the earliest opportunity when normal operations resume.
- Public Gallery and Speaker’s Gallery will be closed to the public and employees.
- Press Gallery will be open as it is large enough to facilitate social distancing between media personnel.
- There will be a modified configuration in the scrum area to allow social distancing.
The House of Assembly is closely monitoring developments regarding COVID-19, and it may be necessary to implement additional and/or modified protocols. The approach outlined above is consistent with measures taken in other jurisdictions regarding the resumption of parliamentary business to deal with urgent matters. Further updates will be provided as they become available.
For the most up-to-date information related to COVID-19, please visit www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19.
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Policy and Communications Officer
House of Assembly