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KUNC is here to keep you up-to-date on the news about COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — Colorado's response to its spread in our state and its impact on Coloradans.

PHOTOS: The Strange New Normal Inside The Colorado State Capitol

Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage
State representatives take the pledge of allegiance Tuesday as they resume their session during the coronavirus pandemic. Most lawmakers wore masks and sat in desks seperated by new plexiglass barriers.

The Colorado Capitol looked and sounded very different on Tuesday as state lawmakers returned for the first time in more than two months.

From difficulties hearing caused by legislators trying to talk through face masks to new plexiglass barriers placed between every desk in the House of Representatives, the legislature is adapting to new safety measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

But the new one-way stairwells and other obstacles pale in comparison to the biggest challenge lawmakers face:

Passing a budget that includes a $3.3 billion shortfall caused by the impacts of the coronavirus.

When they gaveled in their new session, lawmakers could hear the sound of protestors in school buses and other vehicles honking as they drove around the building to oppose nearly $1 billion in proposed cuts to the state's education budget.

Lawmakers expect to be in the building for three weeks.

Here's what it looked like on day one:

Credit Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage
Colorado State Patrol troopers talk inside the Capitol on Tuesday as lawmakers returned to the building. Several chairs are blocked with yellow caution tape to promote social distancing.

Credit Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage
Members of the public are required to wear masks inside the Capitol building.
Credit Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage
New plexiglass barriers have also been installed to protect Capitol workers who help oversee committee meetings.
Credit Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage
Capitol workers put yellow caution tape around chairs that have been stored inside of a hearing room. The chairs are spaced out to promote social distancing.
Credit Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage
The state senate resumes work on Tuesday, with some senators social distancing by working from benches that are usually reserved for guests.
Credit Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage
Public tours of the Capitol are still cancelled. The public microwaves are also out of service during the pandemic.
Credit Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage
The Capitol cafeteria is usually filled with lobbyists, lawmakers and other people taking tours when the legislature is in session. It is closed during the pandemic.

Scott Franz is an Investigative Reporter with KUNC.
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