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Despite crowd limits, NC says it's willing to accommodate delegates to the GOP convention

Jim Morrill, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in News & Features

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- North Carolina's state health director told Republican convention officials Friday that the state could "flexibly enforce" its crowd restrictions to accommodate several hundred delegates at the Charlotte event this month.

The decision all but clears the way for the GOP to have more than 300 delegates renominate President Donald Trump at the Charlotte Convention Center on Aug. 24.

"We understand that some events necessary to conduct official convention business may require measures that would not be allowed for a normal event," health director Elizabeth Tilson wrote RNC officials. "Therefore, in the spirit of accommodating the unique interests and needs of the convention, we have expressed a willingness to flexibly enforce certain ... public health measures."

This week Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper extended Phase 2 restrictions until Sept. 11. They limit most indoor gatherings to 10 people.

Tilson was responding to the RNC's 42-page plan detailing its protocols for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

It says face coverings will be "a condition of participation" and seating will be designed to accommodate a 6-foot distance between people. In addition to masking and social distancing, the plan calls for daily "symptom tracking" of delegates and other guests. It also lays out detailed contingency plans should somebody come down with the disease.


In her response, the state health director asked for clarification on some of the RNC proposals, including how the mask requirement would be enforced.

"We appreciate their timely feedback and will be providing additional details and commitments to Dr. Tilson," a convention spokesperson said Friday.

The convention will bring around 500 people in town, including 336 delegates. The delegates would renominate Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Charlotte. The rest of the four-day convention would take place elsewhere, including virtually.

The state's willingness to accommodate the convention is not a surprise.


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