Coronavirus in NY: Two lawmakers test positive; Capitol closed to Public

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ALBANY – New York will shut down public access to its Capitol building after two state lawmakers tested positive for the coronavirus disease. The announcement was made late Saturday.

The two Brooklyn area representatives of the New York Assembly, Charles Barron and Ways and Means Committee Chair Helene Weinstein, have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a joint statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

The infection of two lawmakers threatens to throw the state’s legislative session into disarray at a time when Cuomo and state legislative leaders are negotiating a budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which begins April 1.

Now, the public will be kept from the Capitol at a time when it’s usually at its most busy, filled with lobbyists, advocates and protesters hoping to persuade lawmakers to support their cause.

“We have spoken with the Senate and are undertaking an intensive cleaning of the Capital and the Legislative Office Building,” Cuomo and Heastie said in their statement. “All legislators and staff that have come in contact with these members will be tested to ensure the safety of everyone.”