SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP/CBS13) — California lawmakers have delayed their return to the state Capitol because of the coronavirus.

Lawmakers were scheduled to return to Sacramento on Jan. 4. Friday, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins said lawmakers would return Jan. 11.

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Lawmakers met for one day earlier this month to swear-in new members and introduce bills. The Senate met at the Capitol while the Assembly held its session at the Golden 1 Center in Downtown Sacramento, allowing for social distancing.

In a joint statement, Rendon and Atkins said they made the decision to “keep members, Legislative staff, and all staff in the Capitol as safe as possible” as the number of new COVID-19 cases in California is at an all-time high.

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Capitol Public Radio reported the decision came after multiple people who work in the Capitol have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent weeks. That includes nine confirmed cases in just five days, according to a memo Senate Secretary Erika Contreras sent to staff last week.

The Legislature was delayed twice because of the coronavirus during the session that adjourned in August. The compressed time frame made it more difficult for lawmakers to pass bills, forcing them to shelve several proposals until 2021.

Lawmakers face a Jan. 31 deadline to extend eviction protections for people who have not been able to pay their rent because of the pandemic.

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