Public to be allowed back in Washington Senate gallery

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A limited number of members of the public who show a same-day negative COVID-19 test will be allowed to return to the galleries overseeing the Washington Senate floor, starting Friday.

The Democratic-majority Senate Facilities and Operations Committee approved the change Tuesday.

The public has been allowed in the Capitol since last summer, but the public galleries overlooking the House and Senate chambers have been closed to all but credentialed media.

Under the updated plan unanimously approved by the committee, the south gallery will be designated for the media, and the north gallery will be open to the public, with a maximum capacity of six people on each side.

The Senate is also adding a metal detector outside of the north gallery doors.