Republicans to restrict crowds at national convention in Jacksonville

The Republican National Convention in Florida next month will restrict attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic and rising cases in the state, party officials said Thursday.

The convention, scheduled to run in Jacksonville for three days from Aug. 25 to Aug. 27, will now culminate with a restricted audience when President Donald Trump accepts the Republican nomination at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote in a letter to delegates.

McDaniel added that attendees will be allowed in the arena with a single guest and attendance will be limited to about 7,500.

On the first two days, delegates will not be allowed to bring any guests.

“We had hoped to be able to plan a traditional convention celebration to which we are all accustomed,” McDaniel wrote. “However, adjustments must be made to comply with state and local health guidelines.

“We plan to utilize a number of indoor and outdoor venues.”

The first day of the convention is still scheduled to be held in Charlotte, N.C., the original host of the entire event. It was moved last month when officials said they couldn’t stage a full-scale event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Florida is now the U.S. epicenter of the outbreak and has reported record numbers of new COVID-19 cases over the past week. The state has seen more than 300,000 cases since the pandemic began.

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