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Group of lawyers sues to keep Republican Convention out of Jacksonville

A group of attorneys has filed a lawsuit against the city of Jacksonville saying it is too dangerous to allow the Republican National Convention to take place in the city during the coronavirus pandemic.

The complaint lists several reasons why Jacksonville should not be allowed to host the event, including that it would be a nuisance injurious to the health and welfare of the city’s community.

“Hosting the Republican National Convention will result in [the] massive spread of Covid-19 among the persons in attendance and throughout the City of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida,” the suit claims.

The lawsuit comes after Florida set a record last Saturday for the newest coronavirus cases in a single day for any state during the pandemic. The state currently has more than 223,000 confirmed cases and has become the biggest hot spot for the virus in the U.S. The lawsuit points to the loosening of coronavirus restrictions as the reason for the spike. It calls for prohibiting all large events not just the Republican Convention.

“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 lawsuit reads.

RNC spokesman Mike Reed said the organization is committed to holding a safe convention that fully complies with local health regulations in place at the time and is planning to offer health precautions including but not limited to temperature checks, available PPE, aggressive sanitizing protocols and available COVID-19 testing.

“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,” Reed said.

The lawyers argue that the Trump campaign has already shown it doesn’t take those precautions seriously.

“President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s standard practice is to eschew safe Covid-19 practices,” the lawyers argue pointing to the campaign’s rally in Tulsa, OK where several campaign staffers tested positive for the virus.

Earlier this week, Trump said that he is very flexible about how the convention will look amid the surging coronavirus cases. That’s a major shift from his previous hard-line stance against restrictions being in place during his acceptance speech. The RNC has even begun looking for possible outdoor venues in the city.

Several senior-aged GOP senators and officials have already announced they’ll skip the convention to avoid possible exposure to the virus.

Last week, the city of Jacksonville began requiring residents to wear face masks in public and indoor locations where social distancing is not possible.

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