North Carolina’s top health official requested that the Republican National Convention provide a “written plan” on safety regulations it intends to enact at its confab scheduled for August in Charlotte.
“As we work together, it is important to have a written plan from you and your team as soon as possible for how you plan to approach the COVID-19 safety aspects of the convention,” North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen wrote to convention president and CEO Marcia Lee Kelly. “A written plan provides a necessary and valuable starting point to planning discussions with our public health teams at the county and state levels.”
The Republican National Convention, where President Trump is slated to officially be nominated for reelection, is scheduled to take place Aug. 24-27 at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center.
However, Trump threatened Monday to move the event if Gov. Roy Cooper (D) cannot guarantee that coronavirus restrictions in the state will be lifted and that he will allow full use of the arena.
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“Plans are being made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied,” Trump tweeted.
“If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do. Thank you, and I LOVE the people of North Carolina!”
Vice President Pence later backed Trump up, floating Florida, Texas and Georgia as potential host states. All of those states are led by Republican governors.
Cohen wrote that North Carolina must plan for several different scenarios given the “rapidly” evolving coronavirus situation in the Tar Heel State.
“The status of COVID-19 infections in our state and in the Charlotte area continues to rapidly evolve, thus, it will be important to have several scenarios planned that can be deployed depending on the public health situation,” Cohen wrote.
Cooper has lifted his state’s stay-at-home order. The safer-at-home phase of his reopening plan allows businesses like barber shops to operate at 50 percent capacity and limits indoor gatherings to 10 people. Outdoor gatherings are capped at 25 people.
The safer-at-home phase will run until at least June 26, though Cooper could extend the measure.
The governor said at a press conference Tuesday that the state has been in touch with Republican officials and that he could not predict the severity of the outbreak in August.
“Already we’ve been in talks with the RNC about the kind of convention that they would need to run and the kind of options we need on the table. We’re talking about something that’s going to happen here months from now and we don’t know what our situation is going to be regarding COVID-19 in North Carolina,” he said. “We want to see in writing what their plans are.”
Democrats have already postponed their national convention in Milwaukee from July to August due to concerns over the coronavirus. Officials maintain that some sort of in-person gathering will be held, but the party’s rules committee decided earlier this month to grant the convention’s CEO, Joe Solmonese, increased authority to curtail the size of the gathering if need be.
North Carolina has had more than 24,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and about 800 deaths.
Source: The Hill