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Texas GOP to hold in-person convention

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The Republican Party of Texas is moving forward with their in-person state party convention.

The party’s executive committee voted 40-20 in favor of hosting the convention in Houston.

State GOP officials say the convention will have plenty of precautions and safety measures in place for attendees, including thermal scanners and hand sanitizer stations throughout the convention hall.

“Under the circumstances, we have adjusted our attendance estimates to about 6,000 people potentially attending,” Texas GOP chair James Dickey said. “We will be deep cleaning meeting areas between gatherings and will be expanding seating to allow for social distancing.”

Delegates will have to comply with the new executive order signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) that requires face masks in public places. Abbott has mandated that residents in counties with 20 or more active COVID-19 cases wear masks. Donated masks will be provided for delegates and attendees.

Dickey says the party has prepared for an online convention as a contingency plan if the government forces them not to hold it in-person.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa called the Republicans’ decision to hold an in-person convention dead wrong.

“Greg Abbott and other Texas Republicans haven’t taken this crisis seriously from day one,” Hinojosa said. “Neither the vanity of hosting an in-person convention nor the lack of skill to host a modern virtual experience are reasons to put Houston workers and their families at risk.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner publicly asked the state GOP to reconsider.

“In this city, all of our conferences have rescheduled or canceled for this year except for one. I am asking @TexasGOP to please reconsider holding their conference at GRB. I am asking the sponsors for this conference to join in with us in asking SREC to hold a virtual event,” Turner tweeted.

The convention will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The Houston First Corporation operates the convention center and says it does not make any decisions to postpone or cancel events.

“That decision rests solely with our event organizers,” a spokesman said.

The CDC is projecting Texas to see nearly 2,000 new hospitalizations due to coronavirus per day by mid-July.

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