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GOP Limits Attendance at RNC Amid Florida’s COVID-19 Surge

The Republican National Committee has scaled back the scope of its convention next month in Florida, which is grappling with some of the highest surges of coronavirus cases in the country.


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The revised RNC plans were announced by the 2020 Jacksonville Host Committee in an email sent out Thursday.

They call for fewer speeches, a limit on attendance, and indoor and outdoor venues that will limit the size of large crowds.

The national convention is scheduled for Monday, August 24 through Thursday, August 27 and will take place at a number of Jacksonville venues, including the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, TIAA Bank Field, Daily’s Place Amphitheater, and 121 Financial Ballpark.

For the first three days, attendance will be limited to the 2,500 regular RNC delegates. For the final night — when President Donald Trump is expected to accept the party’s nomination — delegates will be allowed to bring one guest, and alternate delegates will be allowed to attend, capping total attendance at about 7,000.

“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,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote in a letter to delegates.

Party leaders said convention attendees would be subject to temperature checks, and PPE would be made available, in addition to “aggressive sanitizing protocols, and available COVID-19 testing.”

The changes to the convention come as COVID-19 cases skyrocket in Florida, which has limited gatherings to 50 percent of a venue’s capacity. The city of Jacksonville two weeks ago required citizens to wear face coverings in public.

Party officials in June moved the bulk of the convention to Jacksonville from Charlotte, North Carolina after Trump denounced safety protocols put in place by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. The formal voting portion of the convention is still due to take place in Charlotte.

Information from CNN and the Associated Press was used in this report.

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