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Duval GOP says no plan to make parts of Republican Convention virtual

Democratic Convention planning to be almost entirely digital

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While the Democratic National Convention is on track to be almost entirely virtual due to COVID-19, a Duval County GOP spokesperson said Thursday there are no formal plans to scale back the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville.

Dean Black, with the Duval GOP, balked at the idea of having the convention online. He said with about two months left until the convention that there is no way of knowing what the pandemic might look like, and that any decision made now would be premature.

In 2016, the RNC brought tens of thousands of visitors to Cleveland, Ohio. In the next eight weeks, Jacksonville is on track to do the same when President Donald Trump accepts his party’s nomination for a second term at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

“We’re looking forward to this being an impactful event for Jacksonville businesses, and really, for all of the citizens here in Jacksonville,” Black said.

The DNC announced Wednesday:

  • Official business, which includes the vote to nominate Joe Biden, will take place virtually
  • State delegates will be asked not to travel to Milwaukee
  • Smaller events are being canceled, and the event itself is being moved to a smaller venue

“The Democratic party has decided not to have a convention,” Black said. “Let’s be clear on that. They’re having a webinar. We are planning on having a convention.”

Black says anyone who attends the convention at the arena will have their temperature checked. As of Thursday, face masks were said to be optional and any decision to make them a requirement will be made closer to the convention date.

“This is Florida. In Florida, we don’t evacuate the beaches just because it became hurricane season. There has to be a sound reason for that. We’re never panicked into decisions,” Black said. “We will take our time.”

Black said COVID-19 numbers are closely watched every day. The hope is for a safe and secure convention in August.


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