POLITICO obtained photos showing the members of the guard crammed together in the parking lot, sleeping on the floor.
All National Guard troops were asked to evacuate the Capitol and nearby Congress buildings on Thursday, and set up mobile command centers outside or in nearby hotels, another guard confirmed. They were told to take their breaks during their 12-hour shifts outside and in parking garages, the person said.
The guards who spoke to POLITICO did not have a clear reason why they had been asked to leave the buildings. The first guard said this may have been due to a complaint that some soldiers were not wearing masks, but denied that was the case.
“We have strict guidelines that masks must be worn at all times unless soldiers are eating and drinking,” the guard said.
The troops were also not informed of the decision to make the decision, although Capitol Police are generally responsible for granting or denying access to Congress grounds.
Guard leaders have not made the decision and “are doing their best to provide a resting shelter for the troops who are still on duty 12 hours to protect the Capitol and Congress grounds,” the second guard said. .
“There may really be a big reason for us to leave and it hasn’t been communicated well yet,” said second Guardsman.
Soldiers are particularly concerned about being crammed into tight spaces with limited access to toilets during a pandemic. At least 100 guards have tested positive for Covid, according to two guards. Some are in quarantine in hotels.
A Guard spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the situation. A spokesperson previously declined to provide a specific number for soldiers who have tested positive for Covid.
After footage went viral last week of soldiers sleeping on the floor in halls of Congress, guards protecting the Capitol were cradles initially supplied, POLITICO made a first report.