WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed today urged Rhode Islanders to exercise caution and commonsense in the coming weeks as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic spreads throughout the United States.

Senator Reed stated:

“We have a shared responsibility to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and I urge everyone to exercise common sense and caution.

“I will be following the advice of public health experts and urge others to do the same.  We all know properly washing our hands for at least twenty seconds is important and it works.  And remember to stay home if you are sick, reduce close contact with others, be sure to cover your mouth if you sneeze or cough.  Non-essential travel should be limited.

“The U.S. Senate cancelled its scheduled recess to continue working to provide our communities with the resources they need.  So I will remain in Washington, DC this week.  The U.S. Capitol will remain open for business, but tours have been cancelled through March and access for visitors will be extremely limited.

“A Senate employee from another office who works in our building tested positive for the coronavirus, so I have instructed my DC staff to temporarily go into telework status until further notice.  Although my offices in Cranston and Providence are open and staffed, Rhode Islanders should call (401) 943-3100 to see if an in-person meeting is necessary as public health experts have urged everyone to conduct business online or over the phone.  We have protocols and plans in place and they are prepared to telework if necessary.  Regardless, we will continue to serve Rhode Islanders.

“This is a challenging time, and an evolving situation, but we are going to get through it.  This won’t be quick or easy, but we can all do our part.  Rest assured, I will continue doing everything I can to ensure Rhode Island has the federal resources it needs.  The best way to contact me or get updates about federal efforts is through my website: reed.senate.gov.”