GOP’s con­ven­tion town sez masks must be worn

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY DAVE GOLDINER

The city of Jack­sonville, Florida, where Pres­i­dent Trump is ex­pected to ac­cept the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion in front of a rau­cous crowd in his bid for re­elec­tion, on Mon­day en­acted a manda­tory mask re­quire­ment for pub­lic and in­door lo­ca­tions and places where so­cial dis­tanc­ing is not pos­si­ble.

The Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee had de­cided to move most of the events at the con­ven­tion from Char­lotte, N.C., to Jack­sonville, where it is sched­uled for the last week of Au­gust.

Trump has in­sisted on giv­ing his Repub­li­can ac­cep­tance speech to a packed arena where par­tic­i­pants will nei­ther wear masks nor en­force so­cial dis­tanc­ing. North Carolina of­fi­cials were un­will­ing to guar­an­tee those con­di­tions, lead­ing to the Jack­sonville move.

It’s un­clear if Jack­sonville’s mask man­date will still be in place by the time of the Repub­li­can con­ven­tion on Aug. 25-27 at Vys­tar Vet­er­ans Memo­rial Arena, which holds 15,000 peo­ple.

A spokesman for Mayor

Lenny Curry, a Repub­li­can who sup­ports Trump and adamantly op­posed manda­tory mask-wear­ing as late as last week, said he flip-flopped af­ter dis­cus­sions with busi­ness and health care lead­ers.

“Ev­ery sin­gle day, al­most, we have con­ver­sa­tions with hos­pi­tal providers and CEOs and other mem­bers of our com­mu­nity and we felt that it was time to take this step,” said Jor­dan Els­bury, Curry’s chief of staff.

Mean­while, a group of nearly 500 Florida-based doc­tors — many from north­east Florida — signed an open let­ter to Curry call­ing for the con­ven­tion to be post­poned. The let­ter, which was given to Curry over the week­end, also urged of­fi­cials to re­quire masks.

“It is ex­tremely dan­ger­ous and con­trary to cur­rent pub­lic health rec­om­men­da­tions to stage a large event in an area where the num­ber of cases is surg­ing. The RNC should be post­poned or very sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced in num­bers be­cause of th­ese risks,” the open let­ter states.

Florida has recorded soar­ing new record high num­bers of coro­n­avirus cases in re­cent days.

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