Golden Announces Office Policy Changes to Limit Coronavirus Spread, Maximize Capacity to Serve Constituents

March 13, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) announced measures he and his staff will take to limit the spread of the coronavirus while remaining focused on constituent services and casework during this challenging time for many Mainers. The measures follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for employers and offices and are aimed at protecting both constituents and staff from health risks from the virus.

“With these policy changes for our Maine and DC offices, we hope to model the behavior the CDC recommends to limit the spread of coronavirus,” said Golden. “My staff and I will remain focused on our most important job — serving our constituents — as we take these steps to keep our fellow Mainers safe and healthy.”

Earlier this week, Golden’s offices adopted basic precautions, including limiting physical contact with office visitors and regularly cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces. Additional changes being implemented by the congressman and his staff starting immediately include:

  • In-person constituent meetings with the congressman and/or his staff will instead be held via video conference or phone call;
  • The congressman and his staff will not hold or attend public meetings or other large gatherings;
  • While Maine-based staff will continue to work from district offices, constituents are encouraged to avoid coming to offices in person unless absolutely necessary. Staff will be available via phone and email;
  • Now that House office buildings are closed to the public, the congressman’s Washington DC staff will telework. A minimal staff presence will remain in the DC office to handle constituent phone calls and other essential office functions. 

The congressman has also developed protocols to accommodate additional changes that may be made to office operations to limit coronavirus exposure, including contingency planning if the U.S. Capitol Complex is completely closed or if he must close or further limit public interaction with his district offices in Bangor, Caribou, or Lewiston. Further updates to office policies will be made as necessary to protect the health of Golden’s constituents and staff. Contact information for each of Congressman Golden's offices can be found here.

Last week, Golden voted to pass an $8.3 billion emergency supplemental funding bill — signed into law by the president — to address coronavirus. That legislation included:

  • Public health funding for prevention, preparedness, and response, including support for state & local health agencies;
  • Nearly $1 billion for procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, to support healthcare preparedness and Community Health Centers, and to improve medical surge capacity;
  • $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics;
  • Low-interest loans for small businesses who have been affected by coronavirus.

Here’s what the governor, Maine CDC, and state legislature are doing to respond today:

The Governor is:

  • Proclaiming an Insurance Emergency: This will improve access to care and require private health insurance plans to cover costs related to coronavirus testing.

  • Limiting State Employee Travel: Suspending all non-essential out-of-state work travel by state employees will limit potential exposure to the coronavirus.

  • Recommending Postponing Large, Indoor Gatherings: On the advice of Maine CDC, suggesting non-essential large, indoor gatherings of 250 attendees or more be postponed will help delay a potential coronavirus outbreak and substantially reduce its spread.

The Maine CDC is:

  • Ensuring there is adequate supplies of personal protective equipment for health care workers and first responders.

  • Providing 24-7 consultations with our public health professionals.

  • Adjusting emergency response protocols to adapt to the coronavirus.

  • Running coronavirus tests through their lab equipment, which they updated for this purpose.

  • Engaging public health nurses as part of our emergency preparedness team.

The State Legislature is:

  • Temporarily ending public tours, Hall of Flags events, concerts and other large gatherings.

  • Closing the viewing gallery to the public and postponing outside participation in Legislative Session, such as honorary pages, the distribution of sentiments and joint resolutions.

  • Putting forward emergency legislation that may be needed as part of the coronavirus response to ensure that Mainers health, safety and economic well being is being met.