Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, Scaling Back as Coronavirus Cases Rise

The Republican National Convention, slated to hit Jacksonville, Florida, in late August, is scaling back the celebration and incorporating outdoor venues as cases of the Chinese coronavirus continue to rise in the Sunshine State.

The celebration of President Trump’s nomination, which officials moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, is already undergoing changes due to the rising cases of the infection across Florida.

A memo from Jacksonville 2020 Host Committee Communications Director Erin Isaac details some of the changes, including limitations on attendance during the first three days of the convention and the addition of outdoor venues.

Attendance will be “limited to regular delegates only” for the first three days of the convention — August 24, 25, and 26 — amounting to “about 2,500 people,” according to the Washington Post. The Vystar Veteran’s Memorial Arena, where the convention will take place, can hold up to 15,000.

Officials will open attendance to delegates, their guests, and “alternate delegates” for President Trump’s August 27 acceptance speech. The Post estimates the attendance on the final night will reach anywhere from 6,000 to 7,000.

The RNC plans to utilize both indoor and outdoor venues for daytime events, the memo detailed:

We continue to plan to host programming each day leading up to President Donald Trump’s speech accepting the nomination on Thursday, August 27th. We expect there to be evening programming each night, along with some daytime events and festivities. 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.

The host committee also said it plans to implement rigorous health protocols, including “on-site temperature checks, available PPE, aggressive sanitizing protocols, and available COVID-19 testing.”

The RNC’s Executive Committee voted last month to allow the “official business” of the convention to occur in Charlotte while moving the celebration to Jacksonville over concerns that they would not be able to hold a traditional convention in North Carolina due to coronavirus-related restrictions:

“When we made these changes, we had hoped to be able to plan a traditional convention celebration to which we are all accustomed,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. “However, adjustments must be made to comply with state and local health guidelines.”

Florida reported 10,181 new cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total to over the 300,000 threshold in terms of total cases. Duval County, which has a population of over 957,000, reported 14,152 total cases prior to the Thursday release of the state’s updated coronavirus numbers.

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