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New RNC Home, Jacksonville, Is Now Requiring Face Coverings

Jacksonville, Florida, announced in Monday that face coverings are now mandatory.
Jacksonville, Florida, announced in Monday that face coverings are now mandatory.

The Republican National Committee moved most of its convention from Charlotte to Jacksonville, Florida, in part because President Trump did not want delegates wearing masks.

But the city of Jacksonville announced on Monday that it's now requiring face coverings in all indoor and public spaces when social distancing isn't possible.

The city’s order could still be in effect in late August, when Jacksonville’s VyStar Arena is scheduled to host all of the speeches during the RNC, including President Trump’s acceptance speech on Aug. 27.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, a former chair of the state Republican Party, courted the RNC immediately after Republicans floated the idea of leaving Charlotte. He had resisted ordering mandatory face coverings, but changed course after Florida has become one of the nation's biggest hotspots for new coronavirus cases.

The GOP moved the RNC from Charlotte after Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper refused to guarantee the president a full Spectrum Center, with no social distancing or face coverings. The RNC says it will still conduct some official business in Charlotte, with 336 delegates coming to officially nominate the president early in the week.

Jacksonville spokesperson Nikki Kimbleton told The Washington Post that whether the mandate applies to the convention will be addressed “as we get closer to the event,” noting that it “is still two months away.”

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