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Politics
See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

RNC Can Have Gathering Of More Than 10 People, But NC Worried About Mask Enforcement

rnc-spectrumcenter2.jpg
Erin Keever
/
WFAE
This logo for the 2020 RNC was broadcast on the jumbotron at Spectrum Center, where the convention originally was to be held.

North Carolina health officials will allow the small Republican National Convention to have more than 10 people gathered indoors at a time, an accommodation the state said it's making "in the spirit of accommodating the unique interests and needs of the convention."

This week, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper extended Phase 2 of the state's reopening plan for five weeks, through Sept. 11. Under Phase 2, there is a limit on indoor gatherings to 10 people. Bars and gyms remain closed.

But the Department of Health and Human Services wrote on Thursday that it has "a willingness to flexibly enforce certain otherwise-applicable public health measures."

The RNC earlier this week sent the state a health plan for its small, "business-only" convention that's scheduled to start in Charlotte in two weeks.

The committee said all 336 delegates will stay at the Westin hotel, and that the convention activities will take place at the Convention Center. The RNC expects about 500 people to attend the convention overall, and that other officials may stay at different hotels.

The RNC said that all people attending will wear masks and practice social distancing. But in its detailed health plan, the GOP said that “security for weekend meetings will be provided by private contract with the RNC in coordination and collaboration with local and federal law enforcement.”

It then said that none of the contract security involved “will enforce solely requirements for masks or social distancing.”

That concerns DHHS.

It wrote the RNC and said: “On page 25, it states that security will not enforce solely mask and social distancing requirements. Please describe who will be enforcing those measures.”

The convention is scheduled to start in Charlotte on Thursday, Aug. 20. The delegates are expected to nominate President Trump to a second term on Monday morning, Aug. 24.

A full convention was originally to take place at the Spectrum Center. But President Trump balked at the Cooper administration's refusal to allow a full arena, and the RNC moved most of the convention to Jacksonville, Florida.

But rising coronavirus cases in Florida -- as well as local concerns over security -- led Trump and the RNC to cancel the Jacksonville event. That left Charlotte's "business-only" event as the only part of the convention.

The full text of the NCDHHS letter to the RNC and the RNC safety plan can be read below:

NCDHHS Response To RNC, Aug. 6, 2020 by WFAE on Scribd

RNC2020 Health Protocols Plan, Aug. 3, 2020 by WFAE on Scribd

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