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Returning to normal

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 4:33 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Today was KFYR-TV’s first day in the new normal.

For the first time in 15 months, everyone is back in the office.

But we’re not the only ones ending COVID restricted workspaces.

The United States Congress returned to its normal operations as well, and members say it’s improving the work people do.

When was the last time you wore your mask at work?

For our three members in Congress, the answer is fairly recently. Last week was the first time federal lawmakers met in committees in their normal environments without masks and in their normal seats.

In some ways, the halls of Congress aren’t different from any other office environment.

“Just the off-hand color, the jokes, the walking back-and-forth to the chamber; that’s how relationships get built. That’s how relationships get repaired. And you can’t do that over a computer screen,” said Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D.

The U.S. House recently dropped its mask mandate, which means Armstrong can take his mask off even when he’s not in his D.C. office.

Now his office better reflects his home state.

“All the businesses that I go into, some of them ask to wear a mask, but no there’s nothing going on now. So, there’s nothing,” said resident Brandon Collins.

Committees are also returning to normal with no social distancing and everyone in the same room.

However, just because they’re changing back, it doesn’t mean the options are going away.

“If we’re back home in districts or something’s going on and we have to have an emergency hearing or an emergency type of meeting, I think we’re all more comfortable doing that now. So I think we’ll have the ability to utilize it when we have to, but I think everybody is happy to be back in person,” said Armstrong.

And being back in person, according to Armstrong, will bring everyone together, both in space and policy.

Only lawmakers who are fully vaccinated get to go maskless. According to NBC News, leadership estimated at least 75% of congress members were vaccinated as of May.

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