PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The R.I. House of Representatives has had to scrap its second session of the year after a coronavirus outbreak among some of its employees.

In an email to representatives sent Monday morning, House Speaker Joe Shekarchi said he was canceling Tuesday’s scheduled session at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium “out of an abundance of caution.” The House met on Jan. 5 to start the legislative year but has not reconvened since.

“As you know, my highest priority is to protect the health and safety of all House members,” Shkearchi, D-Warwick, said in the email. “I’m writing to let you know that certain members of the senior and operational staffs tested positive for COVID-19 early last week.”

The speaker did not specify how many employees have contracted the virus, or whether contact tracing has determined when they were infected. General Assembly employees have continued to work at the State House for much of the pandemic.

Shekarchi said the House is still planning to hold another session scheduled for later in the week, due to take place this Thursday at 4 p.m. The House Rules Committee plans to meet later that day to adopt a bill laying out how the chamber will operate in 2021 and 2022.

Shekarchi is expected to announce chairs and members of House committees soon after the rules are finalized.

The R.I. Senate is currently still scheduled to hold a session on Tuesday, according to its website.

“We are not aware of anyone testing positive for COVID in the Senate at this time,” Senate spokesperson Greg Pare said Sunday.

Ted Nesi ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook