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RNC Delegates Could Wear Masks, Practice Social Distancing During Convention

A version of this story was first published by member station WFAE.

The leaders of the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte said Wednesday that the August convention is still moving forward "full speed ahead" but warned that the convention could look very different if the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Marcia Lee Kelly, the convention CEO, told reporters that the size of the Spectrum Center would allow planners to spread attendees out.

"We have 19,000 seats we can play with," she said.

She added: "Once again, we have a beautiful arena. It's an intimate arena. And I'm very happy about playing Tetris with the seats, or whether it's social distancing, or whether it's everyone having to wear a mask."

Lee Everett, the vice president of the convention, said it's possible everyone could be standing six feet apart inside the arena.

Kelly emphasized there are no plans to postpone the event.

The statements come as North Carolina and other states discuss ways to allow more businesses to operate.

The Charlotte City Council can't cancel the convention because of the pandemic. But Gov. Roy Cooper and Mecklenburg health director Gibbie Harris could still have restrictions on the size of gatherings if infections continue.

Kelly said she doesn't anticipate any disagreements with state and local officials over whether to hold the event. She said convention planners are working with the White House coronavirus task force as well as state and local officials.

Earlier this month, President Trump said again that he would not cancel the RNC.

"We have no contingency plan. We're having the convention at the end of August, and we think by the end of August we're going to be in great shape," said Trump.

The Democrats have delayed their convention in Milwaukee until Aug. 17 — a week before the RNC. Former Vice President Joe Biden has said the convention might not be held at all and could be a virtual event.

Copyright 2020 WFAE