The US Democratic Party on Thursday issued a directive to its members in the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as to all delegates and supporters, telling them to avoid attending the party’s national convention this summer over coronavirus concerns, according to The New York Times.
“We have been working closely with state and local public health officials, as well as with epidemiologists, and have come to the hard decision that members of Congress should not plan to travel to Milwaukee,” wrote senior adviser to the convention committee, Chasseny Lewis, in an email to congressional aides, cited by the outlet. “No delegates will travel to Milwaukee and Caucus and Council meetings will take place virtually.”
The instruction came as the country witnesses the highest number of new COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
The announcement indicates that only key elements of the Democratic convention would take place onsite in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin – likely addresses by former Vice President Joe Biden and his as-yet-unannounced vice presidential nominee, while other aspects such as state delegation meetings, voting on the party platform and Biden’s nomination are likely to be held virtually or be eliminated completely.
The convention was initially set to take place at Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum basketball arena, but was later moved to the smaller Wisconsin Center, where no national political event has been held since the 2004 Green Party convention.
Democrats have reportedly been consulting regularly with health experts and epidemiologists and are following the guidance and scientific expertise of the nation’s medical establishment.
Although still intending to have an in person, publicly-attended convention, the Republican Party is now taking similar measures, moving the event site from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, after local officials in North Carolina told the party it would have to abide by social distancing rules over the rapid spread of the pandemic.
Earlier in the day, the Republican National Committee announced that it was planning to move some its national convention events outdoors.
“I want to make clear that we still intend to host a fantastic convention celebration in Jacksonville,” declared the RNC committee chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, cited by The Hill. “We can gather and put on a top-notch event that celebrates the incredible accomplishments of President Trump’s administration and his re-nomination for a second term — while also doing so in a safe and responsible manner.”