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New Site of GOP Convention Does U-Turn on Masks

They are now mandatory in Jacksonville
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2020 5:09 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump moved the Republican National Convention to Jacksonville because North Carolina's governor refused to guarantee that would be no social distancing measures in place during the event—but the Florida city is now introducing restrictions of its own. In what the Florida Times-Union calls a "surprising reversal" from Mayor Lenny Curry, Jacksonville announced that masks would be mandatory in public and indoor locations as of 5pm Monday. Trump, who has refused to wear a mask in public, even during visits to facilities that require them, is scheduled to accept the Republican nomination on Aug. 27 at the 15,000-capacity VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.

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Curry said last week that there would be no mask requirement. The mayor was absent from Monday's announcement due to what his chief of staff said was an "important family commitment." Nikki Kimbleton, the mayor's spokeswoman, said the move was influenced by the decision to make masks mandatory at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. White House spokeswoman Kayleign McEnany said Monday that Trump's advice is to "do whatever your local jurisdiction requests of you," the AP reports. Coronavirus infections in Florida have surged to record highs in recent days and polls have found that a majority of Jacksonville residents now oppose holding the convention there, reports the New York Times.

(Read more Jacksonville stories.)

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