Office Buildings Reopen, but Mail on Hold

Posted February 9, 2004 at 6:22pm

The last of the three Senate office buildings reopened Monday morning, but incoming mail to both sides of the Capitol remains suspended indefinitely pending a full review.

With the exception of three fourth-floor rooms in the Dirksen Senate Office Building adjacent to the room in Majority Leader Bill Frist’s (R-Tenn.) personal office where ricin was found last week, staffers were allowed back in the building Monday.

Delivery of U.S. Postal Service mail continues to be suspended pending a thorough review of security procedures. However, pickup and delivery of internal mail (including newspaper delivery and “Dear Colleague” letters) as well as pickup of outgoing mail has resumed for both the House and Senate. Courier deliveries have also resumed.

Capitol tours, both staff-led and through the Guide Service, resumed Thursday.

Senate restaurants in Dirksen reopened Monday. The Senate Chef (in the Hart Building) and Cups & Company (in the Russell Building) have been operational since their host buildings reopened. The Senate Barber Shop in Russell has also reopened.

Senate parking in underground garages has resumed, although portions of Lot 16 are occupied by “agency-support” vehicles, reducing space in that surface lot. The number of vehicles will diminish over the course of the week, according to a spokeswoman for the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms office. Overflow permit parking from Lot 16 will be allowed in Lot 19 on a first-come, first-served basis before 10 a.m.

The Capitol subway is operating on a normal schedule to all buildings. The Capitol itself and the House office buildings did not close last week, although similar mail procedures were taken on both sides of the Capitol, including pickups of all unopened correspondence.