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Republicans mandate at-home COVID-19 pre-convention test for attendees as cases spike in Florida

The RNC said it will pay for the “in-home” COVID-19 testing for anyone attending the Jacksonville presidential convention next month.

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With COVID-19 cases spiking in Florida, conventiongoers will have to take and pass an “in-home” test before they depart for Jacksonville. On Monday, Trump, who has resisted wearing a mask, said “many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance.”
Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

With COVID-19 cases spiking in Florida, Republican convention goers will have to take an “in-home” COVID-19 test before they depart for Jacksonville, paid for by the Republican National Committee, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Convention attendees will have to agree to be tested twice — at home and when they get to Florida.

This comes as President Donald Trump — who moved the main convention venue to Florida from North Carolina to escape coronavirus pandemic restrictions — is confronted with the reality that Florida COVID-19 cases are surging at some 10,000-a-day.

The RNC convention memo, obtained by the Sun-Times, also notes officials are cutting back on the number of people who can attend Jacksonville events, limiting the attendance of alternate delegates and guests.

What the RNC is calling “The Convention Celebration” in Jacksonville starts the evening of Aug. 24. Trump is expected to accept his 2020 nomination on Thursday, Aug. 27.

Trump yanked the convention from Charlotte because he wanted a full-blown convention. However, with Florida officials struggling with spiking COVID-19 cases, RNC officials are admitting Trump won’t get the convention he originally envisioned.

There will be some official party business taking place in Charlotte with a small number of party officials, with guests not encouraged to attend.

The memo also stated the health and safety protocols in Jacksonville will “include, but are not limited to, on-site temperature checks, available PPE, and aggressive sanitizing protocols, and available COVID-19 testing.”

“….every potential convention participant (attending either Charlotte or Jacksonville) will be sent an in-home COVID-19 test paid for by the RNC. This includes guests of delegates and alternate delegates. Potential convention participants will need to take the in-home test and send back to the testing vendor.

“…Attendees are asked to conduct a self-administered test prior to departing for convention and will be asked to test again prior to the event with the President.”

People will have to agree to allow the testing company to turn their tests results over to the RNC.

The wearing of masks has exploded as a political issue, and Trump has been resisting wearing a mask — until Monday. On Monday, with cases soaring in a variety of states —including those he won in 2016 — the president posted on Twitter a picture of himself wearing a mask. He said in his post, “We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President.”

Still, Trump’s convention will not mandate masks. The memo said, when it comes to masks, “We will follow the local and state health guidelines in place at the time of the convention.”