McConnell’s decision comes as the Senate’s seen a recent uptick in members contracting the disease. Both Sens. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have tested positive for the virus in recent weeks, while Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) announced she’d received a positive test before proceeding to test negative.
McConnell informed the GOP caucus of the decision Saturday afternoon. Senate Republicans have been holding socially distanced lunches in the Senate Hart building since May. Senate Democrats, meanwhile, have held their weekly caucus lunches over the phone.
A Senate leadership aide familiar with the planning noted that no coronavirus cases have been linked to the GOP lunches or to floor activity. The Senate will continue to vote in person and maintain precautions like keeping the doors open to the chamber, holding votes open for a longer period of time and encouraging members to leave the floor after voting.