North Carolina will still work with RNC to ‘ensure the convention can be held safely,’ governor’s office says

North Carolina officials said Friday that the state will “continue working” with the Republican National Committee to ensure that the 2020 GOP convention “can be held safely” in the state as previously planned.

“North Carolina will continue working with the RNC to ensure the convention can be held safely,” Sadie Weiner, a spokeswoman for North Carolina’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, said in a statement Friday.

The comments come after RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and the president and CEO of the 2020 Republican National Convention Marcia Kelly penned a letter to Cooper requesting answers as to whether they could continue to plan to host the convention in Charlotte, N.C. in August amid coronavirus concerns.

North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, in a letter to McDaniel and Kelly on Friday, noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has “interim guidance regarding mass gatherings,” which details safety protocols “that organizers of major events should utilize amid this pandemic.”

“We would ask that the RNC further elaborate on its plans to protect convention participants and the people of Charlotte in accordance with the CDC guidance,” Cohen wrote.

Cohen specifically requested information on how many delegates, elected officials, alternates, guests and media the RNC expects to attend the event; how the RNC would implement health screenings and social distancing; and how the RNC will “isolate individuals who do not pass the thermal and health screenings.”

“We know that it is possible to have a large-scale event during these trying times,” Cohen wrote, referencing NASCAR’s “successful” Memorial Day race in Charlotte, N.C., last week.

Cohen did, though, warn that North Carolina, which is in “Phase 2” of its reopening amid coronavirus, has had its “highest day of new lab confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state” this week and “increasing numbers of people hospitalized with COVID-19.”

“The status of COVID-19 infections in our state and 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 noted.

Nevertheless, Cohen said that North Carolina “continues to support the hosting of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte if it can be done safely.”

Cohen added that the state is “committed to working” with the RNC on the event that they hope will “adequately protect both attendees and the people of North Carolina.”

Cooper and Cohen’s comments come after the RNC sent a list of proposed coronavirus safety protocols to the governor’s office, urging him to “set the rules and requirements” for them to host a “safe and secure” convention.

The proposed safety protocols, included pre-travel health surveys, daily health care questionnaires delivered via app, and thermal scans of all mandatory attendees prior to boarding “sanitized and pre-arrange transportation.”

They also proposed anti-bacterial gel be made “widely available” and “aggressive” sanitizing protocol for all public areas.

“Our planned transportation buses will be dropped off at the Charlotte Convention Center which will act as a mandatory hub for a final health care screening my health care officials,” they wrote. “All attendees would have to pass a clean health check prior to entering the dedicated chute to the Spectrum Arena — where all attendees would then be processed through normal United States Secret Service with normal event queue lines.”

They added that media suites and hospitality areas would “be subject to food service guidelines similar to any other restaurant.”

The RNC convention is scheduled for August 24-27.

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