Health official expresses concern about lack of mask wearing, social distancing at GOP convention

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Photo taken in Arlington, Virginia, the United States, on Aug. 24, 2020 shows screens displaying U.S. President Donald Trump speaking during the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Trump was nominated for a second term on Monday at the 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC) in Charlotte, North Carolina, which has been scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

A local health official expressed concern about “the lack of mask wearing and social distancing” at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Charlotte, North Carolina on Monday.

Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris said in a statement to local ABC affiliate WSOC that she has shared the concern with RNC officials after noticing that delegates were notably not wearing masks or maintaining distance during Monday’s event.

“I have been assured that they are working hard to address these issues,” Harris continued. “All attendees agreed to comply with the requirements prior to attending and were informed that these requirements would be enforced. ”

Through a spokesperson, Harris additionally told WSOC that she hopes the RNC’s inability to follow the rules does not result in additional COVID cases in communities, stressing that the inability to follow the plan will make it more difficult to approve similar requests in the future.

North Carolina officials granted the RNC an exception to the 10-person cap on indoor activities. Just a few reporters were invited to the convention floor.

On Monday, the first day of the RNC, 336 delegates gathered inside the Charlotte Convention Center for a roll call vote that formally nominated sitting President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for the 2020 Republican presidential ticket.

The delegates received tests and temperature checks and were instructed to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Both Trump and Pence made an appearance at the convention center for remarks on Monday.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that convention officials were doing everything necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus among attendees.

“We tested everybody before they came to Charlotte, we tested everybody onsite,” McDaniel said. “We are doing things that allow people to live their lives, have a convention and do it in a healthy and safe way.”

The rest of the RNC convention, which will run through later this week, will be largely virtual. But Trump’s acceptance speech from the White House South Lawn on Thursday night is expected to have a visible live audience.

The RNC has been largely scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump had planned to move his acceptance speech to Jacksonville, Florida but he later called it off after infections surged in “The Sunshine State.”

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