Oklahoma venue management asks Trump campaign for health plan ahead of rally

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The Bank of Oklahoma (BOK) Center in Tulsa, Okla., where President Trump is set to hold a campaign rally Saturday evening, requested Thursday that his campaign provide a plan for “health and safety” measures ahead of the event amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

“Given the Tulsa Health Department’s recent reports of increases in coronavirus cases and the State of Oklahoma’s encouragement for event organizers to follow CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines, we have requested that the Trump campaign, as the event organizer, provide BOK Center with a written plan detailing the steps the event will institute for health and safety, including those related to social distancing,” Meghan Blood, director of marketing for the BOK Center, said in a statement, CNN reported.

“Once received, we will share the plan with local health officials.” 

The Trump campaign has said that it will offer masks and temperature checks to all attendees.

The statement from the facility said that all staffers will be tested for COVID-19, and the venue will be “cleaned and disinfected repeatedly throughout the event, with special emphasis on high-touch areas.” 

The arena has an audience capacity of approximately 19,000 people.

Tulsa Health Department Director Bruce Dart and Mayor G.T. Bynum (R) said Wednesday that people who attend any large gathering could be at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19. 

“Let me be clear: Anyone planning to attend a large-scale gathering will face an increased risk at being infected with COVID-19,” Dart said during a press conference. “We want to keep people safe. … If you are part of a vulnerable population, please stay at home.”

Dart has recommended that the rally be postponed until it was safe to hold a large indoor event and protect attendees from COVID-19.

Coronavirus cases in Tulsa have also spiked in recent weeks. 

On Tuesday, a Tulsa judge blocked a lawsuit by city residents and business owners to stop the indoor campaign rally amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The lawsuit was appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, according to a report from The Washington Post. 

An officer for the state’s Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon heard arguments in the case on a conference call, saying that the court would make a decision on Friday, the outlet reported.

Paul DeMuro, one of the attorneys for the city residents and business owners, said during the call that “an indoor mass gathering such as this, without adherence to the CDC guidelines, creates grave, imminent and certain public risk to the community.” 

“Nineteen thousand people, chanting and screaming and yelling in a big box in the middle of the worst pandemic we may have ever faced as a country — it’s madness to let this event go forward,” DeMuro added. 

Joseph Farris, an attorney for ASM Global, the company that manages the city-owned BOK Center, said that the agreement with the Trump campaign to use the facility says that attendees will have their temperatures taken, and they will be given masks.

There will also be signs outside the facility saying that “people suffering from COVID symptoms should not go inside,” The Washington Post reported.

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement to The Hill that, “We’ve received a letter from arena management and we’re reviewing it.” 

“We take safety seriously, which is why we’re doing temperature checks for everyone attending, and providing masks and hand sanitizer,” he added.  

The Hill has reached out to the BOK Center and the Trump campaign for comment. 

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