Jacksonville Attorneys File Lawsuit to Block Republican National Convention Over COVID-19 Concerns

A group of Jacksonville, Florida, attorneys filed a lawsuit in an effort to prevent the Republican National Convention from taking place next month.

The lawsuit, filed in Duval County on Wednesday, outlines several reasons why Jacksonville should not host the upcoming convention as Florida continues to see significant increases in coronavirus cases.

“To avoid community spread of COVID-19 and to protect the health and welfare of Plaintiffs and the community, it is necessary and essential that all super spreader events where large numbers of people congregate in close proximity indoors not occur,” the suit reads.

As the attorneys fight to block the convention, Florida continues to see record-breaking numbers for new coronavirus cases, infection rates, and hospitalizations. The state averaged more than 9,200 daily new cases, on a seven-day average, on Wednesday.

Highlighting Jacksonville’s demographic, the lawsuit notes that the city’s population is home to mostly Black Americans and older individuals whom the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers high risk for infection.

The lawsuit also notes it expected there will be 12,000 to 15,000 people at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena for the convention. The attorneys recommend no more than 1,250 people and the other at least 12,500 seats to be “isolated or roped off.”

Republican National Committee Spokesperson Mike Reed told The Hill, “The event is still almost two months away, and we are planning to offer health precautions including but not limited to temperature checks, available PPE, aggressive sanitizing protocols, and available COVID-19 testing.”

Reed added, “We have a great working relationship with local leadership in Jacksonville and the state of Florida, and we will continue to coordinate with them in the months ahead.”

The push to prevent the convention from taking place comes less than a month after the new location was confirmed.

In June, the Republican National Committee (RNC) clashed with Gov. Roy Cooper (D-N.C.) on safety protocols for the convention in Charlotte, N.C. Cooper also expressed concern about a full capacity event amid the pandemic, as previously reported on IJR.

According to a press release by the RNC, the RNC plans to host the convention in both Jacksonville and Charlotte. The formal nomination of Trump will take place in Charlotte on August 21-24 then there will be a convention in Jacksonville on August 24-27.

When asked if he would consider scaling down the event, President Donald Trump initially pushed back against the idea. But now he appears open to downsizing, depending “on the timing.”

As of Thursday afternoon, there are more than 3.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States including at least 232,718 cases in Florida. In the last 24 hours, Florida has also hit an 18.39% positivity rate, statewide.