GOP Announces Plans to Scale Down Convention as FL Sees COVID-19 Surge


Republican National Committee (RNC) leaders announced changes that will be implemented for the upcoming Republican National Convention to be held in Jacksonville, Florida, in August.

On Thursday, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and other committee planners released a letter outlining alternate plans to scale down the upcoming four-night event.

The letter indicates that attendance will be limited to only regular delegates for the first three days of the convention. Regular delegates account for approximately 2,500 of the attendees, reports The Washington Post.

Delegates will be allowed one guest and a minimal number of alternate delegates will also be allowed to attend, for the final day — which will be scaled down to an estimated total of 6,000 to 7,000 attendees.

McDaniel outlined safety protocols that will be in place to ensure the safety of those attending the multi-day event.

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“We plan to implement a variety of health protocols in order to ensure a safe event. This plan includes but is not limited to on-site temperature checks, available PPE, aggressive sanitizing protocols, and available COVID-19 testing,” McDaniel explained.

To better enforce social distancing measures, McDaniel has also confirmed the use of indoor and outdoor spaces within a short distance of the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

“We plan to utilize a number of indoor and outdoor venues in this multi-block radius of Jacksonville, including the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, TIAA Bank Field, Daily’s Place Amphitheater, 121 Financial Ballpark, and several others,” McDaniel said.

Leah Millis/File Photo/Reuters

The latest news follows a string of reports about the convention. Over the last several weeks, the event has undergone multiple changes including relocation and downsizing due to the coronavirus.

Initially, the RNC projected attendance of approximately 50,000 attendees. However, the outlook changed as coronavirus cases began surging in various Florida counties, including Duval County where the convention will now take place.

But despite the changes, McDaniel reiterated that the RNC is “working around the clock to ensure the convention celebration in Jacksonville is still and exciting.”

Her letter reads:

“I want to make clear that we still intend to host a fantastic convention celebration in Jacksonville. We can gather and put on a top-notch event that celebrates the incredible accomplishments of President Trump’s administration and his re-nomination for a second term — while also doing so in a safe and responsible manner.”

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The Republican National Convention is scheduled for August 24-27. As of Thursday morning, Florida is considered one of the epicenters of the United States’ coronavirus outbreak with more than 300,000 reported cases.

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