Vice President Mike Pence and challenger Kamala Harris will be separated by a plexiglass barrier during Wednesday’s debates to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission, a commission overseeing the event said.
The debate, the only one scheduled between the vice presidential candidates, will take place in Salt Lake City, six days after President Donald Trump announced he had contracted the virus.
Kamala Harris and Mike Pence tested negative for coronavirus: the US vice president worked from home on weekends. A number of White House employees and prominent Republicans, including three U.S. Senators, have tested positive for COVID-19.
The Presidential Debate Commission also stated that the candidates will be located 3.7 meters apart. The panel said there would be a limited number of guests at the debate, all of them would be tested, and anyone not wearing a mask would be “escorted out.”
During the first presidential debate between Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden last week, several Trump family members did not don their masks while sitting in the audience.
Pence spokeswoman Cathy Miller said, “If Senator Harris wants to build a fortress around him, go for it.”
In response, Sabrina Singh, a spokeswoman for Harris, tweeted: “Interestingly @VPComDir Katie Miller scoffs at our desire to establish a plexiglass barrier in a debate when her own boss is supposedly in charge of the COVID-19 working group and should be advocating for it. “.
Miller herself fell ill with COVID-19 in the spring.
Also on Monday, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Merto said the president intends to participate in the next presidential debate, slated for October 15 in Miami.
Biden said Monday that he is ready to participate in a debate scheduled for next week with Trump if health experts on COVID-19 believe it will be safe.
The first of three scheduled debates took place last week, two days before Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.
“If scientists say it’s safe and the distances are safe, then I think it’s okay. I will do what the experts think is right, ”Biden said.
The usual quarantine period for anyone testing positive for the new coronavirus is 14 days.
Trump has often played down the threat of a pandemic that has now infected 7.4 million Americans and killed more than 209,000. Biden criticized Trump for not taking the pandemic seriously enough.