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NC Gov: No RNC Safety Plan             05/29 06:22


   (AP) -- North Carolina's governor said Thursday that his administration 
hasn't received the written safety plan for the upcoming Republican National 
Convention requested by his health secretary in response to President Donald 
Trump's demands for a full-scale event.

   Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said during a media briefing that RNC 
organizers have yet to turn over written plans for how they envision safely 
holding the convention in Charlotte in August amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Top 
GOP officials countered in a letter that they need more guidance and assurances 
from Cooper.

   North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen sent a letter 
Monday to the top RNC organizer asking for the written plans after Trump 
demanded in a tweet that North Carolina guarantee a full-scale, in-person 
convention will be held. Cooper and Cohen say that they had discussed various 
scenarios with convention organizers but want their plan in writing.

   "We're ready to hold the RNC convention in North Carolina in a safe way. And 
for weeks and months, the health experts in our office have had conversations 
with the people organizing the RNC about how to have it in a safe way," he said.

   But despite the request Monday, Cooper said: "We've yet to see" a written 
safety plan from RNC organizers.

   Cooper said his administration required a similar written plan from NASCAR 
ahead of its recent race in the Charlotte area that was held without fans. He 
said he's in similar discussions with sports teams including Charlotte's NFL 
and NBA teams.

   Top GOP officials later released a letter they sent to Cooper on Thursday 
saying they need further direction and assurances from him to move forward. The 
letter also offers several proposed steps to screen and protect convention 
attendees' health.

   "We still do not have solid guidelines from the state and cannot in good 
faith ask thousands of visitors to begin paying deposits and making travel 
plans without knowing the full commitment of the governor, elected officials 
and other stakeholders in supporting the convention," said the letter.

   It was signed by Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and 
Republican National Convention President Marcia Lee Kelly.

   The letter, which doesn't represent a finalized safety plan, proposes steps 
including apps asking attendees daily health questions, taking attendees' 
temperature before they board transportation, health checks again at the NBA 
arena serving as the center of the convention and aggressive cleaning and 
sanitizing of public areas.

   Trump threatened in a tweet Monday to move the convention unless Cooper 
guarantees a full-capacity gathering. Then on Tuesday, Trump reiterated the 
idea by saying he wanted an answer from Cooper within a week, or he'd be forced 
to consider moving the convention somewhere else. Florida and Georgia's 
governors have said they're interested in hosting

   Asked about Trump's demand for an answer within a week, Cooper told 
reporters: "We're not on any timeline here."

   Cooper has gradually eased business restrictions, with restaurants now 
allowed to offer limited indoor dining. But entertainment venues, bars and gyms 
remain closed under his current order that also caps indoor mass gatherings at 
10 people.

   Local Republican officials have noted that Trump isn't a party to the 
convention contract and doesn't appear to have the power to unilaterally move 
the event, which is scheduled to start in 90 days after two years of planning.

   The county surrounding Charlotte has had the most virus cases of any in 
North Carolina, and the state is experiencing an upward trend in cases.

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