Aug 11, 2020 - News

What to expect with the scaled-back RNC in Charlotte this month



In less than two weeks, just under 400 visitors will arrive in Charlotte for the Republican National Convention, a fraction of the crowd the event was supposed to draw.

The plans for the convention have shifted so much over the last few months, it’s enough to make your head spin.

A few recent highlights: Frustrated that he couldn’t have the coronation-like convention he wanted because of Governor Cooper’s coronavirus restrictions on crowd sizes, President Donald Trump pulled the RNC’s main events from Charlotte back in May. Then Jacksonville emerged as the new host for the party, while Charlotte would still have the business portion. A few weeks later, as the coronavirus numbers shot up in Florida, Trump canceled the Jacksonville portion of the event — a month before it was to begin.

Earlier this month, Trump said in an interview with WRAL that he’d probably give his acceptance speech in Charlotte. But as of now, Trump and Pence are not expected to be in Charlotte during the RNC, according to CMPD.

A number of questions remain. Where will Trump give that speech, for instance? He’s said he’ll announce (soon!) whether it’ll be the White House lawn, or the Great Battlefield of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.

Here’s what else you need to know as Charlotte readies for the RNC, the largest sanctioned event in Charlotte since the pandemic began:

How many people can we expect? There will be six delegates from each state and territory, for a total of 336.

Where will everything take place? Delegates are staying at The Westin in Uptown Charlotte, and the nominating will take place in a ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center.

When is it? The RNC’s business meeting, which is closed to the press, takes place August 21 – 23. The formal nomination of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence takes place August 24.

Safety precautions: In response to the ongoing pandemic, the RNC hired Dr. Jeffrey Runge as a Senior Advisor for Health and Safety Planning. Some key elements of the RNC’s safety plans include:

  • Pre-travel coronavirus testing for all RNC participants before they arrive in Charlotte
  • Daily symptom screening and temperature checks for delegates
  • Social distancing in all venues
  • Masks for everyone
  • On-site health support from local hospitals

Atrium and Novant will provide on-site testing and screening for all delegates, as well as anyone who interacts with them. The two systems will provide on-site care during the event.

“Good health practices are not political. They’re based on the science of medicine,” the hospitals’ statement read.

Because of the pandemic, RNC attendees will operate in a bubble-like environment while they’re in Charlotte, convention officials told city council this week.

Additionally, the GOP plans to track attendees’ movements with badges equipped with Bluetooth technology, WFAE reports. The measure will help facilitate contact tracing.

Security measures: For security purposes, the U.S. Secret Service, FBI, Federal Aviation Administration, and CMPD have announced a “no drone zone” from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 24. Essentially, that just means that drones and other manned aircraft are prohibited within a 30-nautical-mile radius of the Charlotte Convention Center, up to 18,000 feet in altitude.

CMPD expects to announce a security perimeter sometime this week.

How to watch: The RNC will live stream the formal renomination of Trump and Pence starting at 9 a.m. on Monday, August 24. That portion of the event will only be open to “a limited group” of select media members to provide in-person coverage.

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