Democratic Convention Moves to Smaller Venue, as Delegates Are Urged to Stay Away

WASHINGTON — The Democratic National Convention will move out of Milwaukee’s professional basketball arena, and state delegations are being urged not to travel to the city because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, party officials said Wednesday.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. still intends to travel to Milwaukee to accept his party’s presidential nomination, his campaign manager said, but neither his campaign nor the Democratic National Committee has made firm commitments that Mr. Biden will attend.

The Democratic convention will be “anchored” in Milwaukee, but the four-night mid-August event will “include both live broadcasts and curated content from Milwaukee and other satellite cities, locations and landmarks across the country,” according to a news release.

The announcement that the convention will move five blocks from the 17,000-seat Fiserv Forum to the Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee’s convention center, stands in contrast to the plans being made by Republicans, who at the behest of President Trump moved the venue for his nomination acceptance speech from Charlotte, N.C., to Jacksonville, Fla., where local officials have required fewer safety precautions, even as cases of the virus continue to surge in Florida.

The news came as the United States reported the highest single-day total of new coronavirus cases since late April.

It remains unclear how many delegates will converge on Milwaukee for the convention, or even who will be allowed inside the convention hall. It is not yet decided what sort of access journalists will have to the proceedings.

Nor is it clear how much space convention planners will need for a production footprint or what social distancing requirements will be in place when the convention begins on Aug. 17.

And while Mr. Biden’s campaign insists he is planning to attend, they have yet to make a firm commitment.

“Vice President Biden intends to proudly accept his party’s nomination in Milwaukee,” said Jen O’Malley Dillon, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager. “The city of Milwaukee has been an incredible partner and we are committed to highlighting Wisconsin as a key battleground state at our convention this August.”

The coronavirus pandemic has forced Democrats to drastically roll back plans for what would have been an enormous celebration of Mr. Biden and the party’s efforts to oust Mr. Trump. A survey of D.N.C. members last month found the vast majority of them did not want to attend an in-person convention, citing health risks from the pandemic.

All of the convention’s official business — setting its rules, adopting a platform and formally nominating Mr. Biden and his running mate — will be conducted remotely, party officials said.

Convention organizers have added two epidemiologists, W. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University and Larry Brilliant, who is known for his work eradicating smallpox, to advise officials on public health precautions at the convention.

Organizers also announced they had canceled all official parties and events that were to take place before and during the event in Milwaukee.

The number of new coronavirus cases in Wisconsin is currently down from a late-May peak, according to a New York Times database. Milwaukee County has the highest rate of positive cases in the state.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*