Republican National Convention: Charlotte public health officials ‘concerned’ by lack of people wearing masks

Convention started on Monday with Trump and Pence delivering speeches

Matt Mathers
Tuesday 25 August 2020 13:27 BST
Coronavirus in numbers
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Public Health experts in North Carolina have raised concerns about officials at this year’s Republican National Convention not enforcing Covid-19 regulations.

Gibbie Harris, Mecklenburg public health director, said she was “concerned” about the lack of face mask-wearing at the event, which began on Monday at the Charlotte Convention Center.

“I have just shared concern about the lack of mask-wearing and social distancing in the room at the RNC Roll Call Meeting with the RNC Convention staff,” Ms Harris said in a statement on Monday.

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

According to the Charlotte Observer, RNC officials had previously assured Ms Harris’s office that they would enforce North Carolina’s statewide mandate on face masks, which stipulates that they must be worn in public places.

On the day that Mr Trump officially accepted the Republican Party nomination for president, around 300 party delegates gathered at the convention centre.

Photos from inside the RNC show some delegates appearing to flout the rules by not wearing face masks – and appearing to continue doing so even after Ms Harris had raised the issue with GOP staff running the convention, the Charlotte Observer report states.

Images also showed some attendees huddling together in small groups and shaking hands during intervals in the day’s proceedings. The Independent has contacted the RNC for comment.

The first day of the 2020 Republican convention began early in the day as Mr Trump and his vice president Mike Pence accepted their nominations to re-run for office.

The president paid a surprise visit to the city, where he warned delegates that “the only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election,” raising anew his unsupported concerns about Americans’ expected reliance on mail voting during the pandemic.

Experts say mail voting has proven remarkably secure.

The fact the Republicans gathered at all stood in contrast to the Democrats, who held an all-virtual convention last week. The Democratic programming included a well-received roll call video montage featuring diverse officials from across the nation.

On day two of the convention, Republicans will hear from Eric, Tiffany and Melania Trump, as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Senator Rand Paul. Nicholas Sandmann, who featured in a viral video last year in front of the Lincoln Memorial in the nation’s capital, is also scheduled to speak.

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