• The RNC sent a set of coronavirus safety guidelines to Gov. Roy Cohen that do not mention social distancing or masks
  • The RNC set a Wednesday deadline for a response, complaining the state had not given the party any guidance
  • North Carolina experienced its biggest one-day spike in cases this week

The Republican National Committee sent an outline of safety guidelines for its national convention and gave North Carolina officials until Wednesday to sign off amid threats to pull the Aug. 24-27 nominating conclave out of Charlotte.

“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,” the RNC said in a letter to Gov. Roy A. Cooper sent late Thursday.

Earlier this week, President Trump threatened to move the convention elsewhere if state officials insisted on strict social distancing protocols amid coronavirus concerns that would prevent 50,000 Republicans from packing the Spectrum Center.

The president has been pushing states to fully reopen despite continued spread of the coronavirus and the mounting death toll. As of late morning Friday, more than 101,600 Americans had died of COVID-19.

The issue has become a flashpoint between Republicans and Democrats, with the latter urging a more cautious approach to keep the death toll in check.

“We have a governor who doesn't want to open up the state," Trump said. "He's been acting very, very slowly and very suspiciously."

Cooper is a Democrat; North Carolina is a key swing state, complicating the discussion.

Mandy Cohen, North Carolina secretary of Health and Human Services, in a letter earlier this week to the RNC urged a “measured and careful” planning effort.

Cases of coronavirus still are rising in the state, which is in the second phase of its reopening plan, with a major spike in cases reported after the Memorial Day weekend. As of Thursday, 25,412 cases had been confirmed, 708 people were hospitalized and at least 21 deaths had been linked to COVID-19.

To allow the convention to go forward, the RNC proposed:

  • Pretravel health surveys
  • Daily healthcare questionnaires
  • Thermal scans
  • Widely available antibacterial gel
  • Aggressive sanitization of all public areas
  • Final health checks as buses drop off attendees
  • Clean health checks before being allowed inside, and
  • Restaurant food service guidelines for all media and hospitality suites

There was no mention of social distancing or masks.

“If there are any additional guidelines to what is outlined above that we will be expected to meet, you need to let us know by Wednesday, June 3. Time is of the essence,” the letter signed by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel concluded. The GOP already has spent more than $3.1 million on planning, Federal Election Commission reports show.

Cooper said he is not ready to “sacrifice the health and safety of North Carolinians” to appease Republicans.

Republican governors in Georgia and Florida have offered their states as alternative convention sites.