JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Aaron Bean, president pro tempore of the Florida Senate, and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning as they arrived at the state Capitol for the opening session of the 2021 Legislature, a Senate spokeswoman confirmed.
Bean had tested negative on Monday and attended committee meetings while wearing a mask as called for in safety protocols in place as lawmakers return to work in Tallahassee this year.
Katie Betta, deputy chief of staff for communications at the Senate president’s office, said Bean was showing no symptoms and “felt 100%.” He and his wife have returned home to Fernandina Beach to isolate for the rest of the week. He will retest on Sunday or Monday before returning to Tallahassee.
The state Capitol complex continues to remain largely closed to the public and the Senate is requiring lobbyists and members of the public to testify remotely from the nearby Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.
Today is the start of the 2021 Legislative Session. We’ve had a difficult year as Floridians and there is plenty of work ahead of us. I pledge to continue my commitment to strengthen and invest in our great state. I look forward to making each and every day count. #OpeningDay pic.twitter.com/hrmoShF5cn— Aaron Bean (@AaronPBean) March 2, 2021
To adhere to social-distancing requirements during the 60-day legislative session, the House is offering limited seating on a “first-come, first-served basis” for committee meetings in which legislation is discussed.
Members of the public who aren’t registered lobbyists and can’t attend committee meetings in person will be allowed to submit written comments to committee members electronically. House visitors will be required to wear face masks, including when they are addressing committees, and won’t be allowed to show up unannounced.
Bean is among dozens of Florida lawmakers who have contracted the virus over the past year, including Senate President Wilton Simpson and Senate Democratic Leader Gary Farmer.