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Mike Pence and Kamala Harris' vice presidential debate can have a plexiglass barrier as a consequence of coronavirus considerations


A worker hangs a banner as preparations for the Vice Presidential Debate take place outside Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah on Monday, October 5, 2020 in Salt Lake City.

Patrick Semansky | AP

A plexiglass barrier will separate Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris during their Vice Presidential debate on Wednesday. This is the second measure taken to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission after President Donald Trump signed Covid-19, NBC News confirmed on Monday.

A person familiar with debate planning told NBC News that California Democrat Harris' campaign required the use of the plexiglass and that the Presidential Debate Commission approved the motion.

The Commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.

Politico first reported that the plexiglass would be used in the debate that will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah on Wednesday evening.

The news agency said the pence campaign was against the precautionary measure.

Pence spokeswoman Katie Miller told NBC News as she told Politico, "If Sen. Harris wants to use a fortress around him, you have it."

Miller himself was diagnosed with the coronavirus in May.

The Debate Commission had already announced that Pence and Harris would be 13 feet apart, contrary to the original plan of having them 7 feet apart for their first and only face-to-face showdown.

Trump announced on Friday that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus. He had discussed former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate, in Cleveland last Tuesday night.

Biden and Pence have both tested negative for the virus since then.

In addition to the Trumps, at least 16 other people in the White House or anyone who participated in the Trump-Biden debate or Trump-related events have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, including President's Campaign Manager Bill Stepien, the top Trump Advisers Hope Hicks and Kellyanne Conway, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel.

Over the weekend, Jaime Harrison, the Democratic Senate candidate in South Carolina, brought his own plexiglass barrier to his debate with incumbent Republican Senator Lindsay Graham.

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