Republicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report

Republicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report
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GOP officials are considering moving next month's Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Fla., to an outdoor stadium amid ongoing concerns about the coronavirus, The Washington Post reported Thursday. 

Republican leaders are looking at two outdoor professional sports stadiums to potentially house the convention, but no decisions have been made for a relocation, several officials with knowledge of the plans told the Post. 

Currently, the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena is slated to host the convention, where President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE will officially accept the Republican nomination, in late August. 

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The two locations under consideration include 121 Financial Ballpark, which holds minor league baseball games and seats about 11,000 people, and the TIAA Bank Field, where the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars play, which holds 65,000 people.

The VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, which is in walking distance from both new stadiums, seats 15,000 people, but health experts have cautioned against large gatherings indoors amid the pandemic.

Sources told the Post that party officials toured both stadiums during meetings in Jacksonville.

Two Republicans involved with the planning told the newspaper that they were also examining the logistics of hosting an outdoor convention. The president has been briefed on the options of moving the convention from the arena and is expected to make a decision in the coming days.

The Republican National Committee did not immediately return a request for comment. 

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The potential change in plans highlights the uncertainty of planning the convention as cases in Florida have surged to record highs in recent days.

Trump moved the GOP convention to Jacksonville after fighting with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) about coronavirus restrictions at its originally planned location in Charlotte. Officials have said they will follow the local COVID-19 regulations in effect in Jacksonville at the time of the convention.

So far six GOP senators, including Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyMcConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill GOP chairmen hit back at accusation they are spreading disinformation with Biden probe On The Money: Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions | Pandemic reveals flaws of unemployment insurance programs | Survey finds nearly one-third of rehired workers laid off again MORE (Iowa), Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderSeveral GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Negotiators 'far apart' as talks yield little ahead of deadline Trump-backed Hagerty wins Tennessee GOP Senate primary MORE (Tenn.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCoronavirus deal key to Republicans protecting Senate majority From a Republican donor to Senate GOP: Remove marriage penalty or risk alienating voters The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's visit to battleground Ohio overshadowed by coronavirus MORE (Maine), have said they will not be present at the convention over coronavirus concerns.

Florida has documented 232,718 cases of coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic and 4,009 deaths, according to state data. Duval County, where Jacksonville is located, has counted 11,028 cases and 74 deaths. 

The weekly count of cases in Duval County has recently jumped to more than 700 from about 100 in early June, according to the Post.