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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Pence accedes to plexiglass at debate

Vice President Mike Pence has ceded to California Sen. Kamala Harris’ demands for plexiglass to be used at Wednesday evening’s debate, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Pence’s team had objected to Harris’ wishes for a barrier to separate the two candidates from each other and from moderator Susan Page. But after a series of talks, aides to the vice president decided to back down.

Pence aides argued that the plexiglass was medically unnecessary and said it would do little to prevent coronavirus transmission, according to people familiar with the back and forth. The Pence team ultimately said that if the barriers made Harris feel safer, they would use them. The New York Times first reported the Pence campaign's decision.

The negotiations come amid mounting concerns about infection. While Pence has tested negative for the virus, President Donald Trump and several of his top aides have tested positive. Democrats have expressed worries that Trump was contagious at last week’s debate with former Vice President Joe Biden, though Biden has since tested negative.

Debate organizers are also planning to strictly enforce health regulations at the debate. Before entering the debate hall at the University of Utah, attendees must test negative and wear a mask. If they take the mask off, they will be asked to put it back on. If they don’t comply, they will be asked to leave, people familiar with the planning said.

Trump’s family members were criticized for not wearing masks during last week’s debate.

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