The Democratic National Convention is being pushed back until August because of the coronavirus pandemic, and planners are looking at altering the format or adjusting the crowd side.
“In light of the unprecedented health crisis facing our country, the 2020 Democratic National Convention will now be held the week of August 17 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, providing our team more time to determine the most appropriate structure for this historic event,” the Democratic National Convention Committee said in their announcement.
“Ensuring the safety of the convention’s host community and all convention-goers has been—and always will remain—the top priority of the Democratic National Convention Committee. As we continue to monitor the unpredictable and unprecedented public health emergency, we remain in constant communication with the local, state, and federal officials responsible for protecting public health and security, and will continue to follow their guidance.”
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The convention originally had been scheduled for July 13-17, but in recent days it has become clear that a decision would have to be made soon about those dates given models showing that the pandemic could last into the summer months. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who leads in the delegate race over Bernie Sanders, has said in recent days that he thought that the convention would need to be delayed.
The convention planners also raised the possibility that the event will be scaled back and that it will have a different format “to ensure nominating the next president of the United States is done without unnecessary risk to public health.”
Joe Solmonese, the CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee, said in a statement that “in our current climate of uncertainty, we believe the smartest approach is to take additional time to monitor how this situation unfolds so we can best position our party for a safe and successful convention.”
This is the first time in recent memory that a convention has been postponed, although planners have had to delay the start of proceedings in the face of natural disasters. That happened in 2008 and in 2012, when the Republican National Convention opened the event a day later because of Gulf coast hurricanes.
Biden, appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday, said that he thought that the convention would have to be moved. But he said that the party has been able to have conventions during wars and “still have public safety. And we’re able to do both.”
The move of the date of the convention, and the possibility that it will be a much different type of event, sets off a logistical challenge, as many hotels and facilities had already been booked. But the planners said that they had confirmed that the venue, the Fiserv Forum as well as the Wisconsin Center District and hotel accommodations were still available that week.
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