SALT LAKE CITY (CBS SF) – Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris will be separated by plexiglass at Wednesday’s Vice Presidential Debate amid concerns about the coronavirus and President Donald Trump’s recent COVID-19 diagnosis.
The Commission on Presidential Debates has approved plans to place a barrier between the two vice presidential contenders, and with moderator Susan Page, CBS News confirmed Monday. According to Politico, which first reported the change, the plans are supported by the Cleveland Clinic, which is helping set up protocols for the debates.
The campaigns reportedly were split on a plexiglass barrier at the debate in Salt Lake City, with Harris supporting the measure, while Pence’s team was opposed.
“If Sen. Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it,” Pence spokesperson Katie Miller told Politico.
Last week, the debate commission approved plans to increase spacing between the campaigns from seven feet to 13 feet. The change followed President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis late last week, which prompted his hospitalization at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The President left the hospital to return to the White House Monday, but will remain under quarantine and under the care of doctors.
Trump tested positive for COVID-19 two days after he debated Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden. The outbreak, which also infected First Lady Melania Trump, several top advisors and members of Congress, was possibly linked to Trump’s announcement of nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Both Harris and Pence, along with Biden, have tested negative for COVID-19.
KPIX 5’s live coverage of the debate begins Wednesday at 6 p.m.