JACKSONVILLE (CBSMiami/CNN) – Saying it would hurt the city’s health and welfare, several Jacksonville attorneys have filed a lawsuit in an effort to block the Republican National Convention from happening there during the coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuit comes days after Florida, now the nation’s No. 1 hot spot for the virus, set a record last Saturday for the most new coronavirus cases in a single day for any state during the pandemic, with a total of 11,458, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The state currently has more than 223,000 confirmed cases, according to the university.
The complaint mentioned that, following a loosening of restrictions in the state, the number of coronavirus cases has spiked and that “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 convention, which is set to take place at the end of August, will feature daily coronavirus testing for those attending the event and culminate in President Donald Trump’s acceptance of the Republican nomination at a 15,000-person arena.
The schedule for the Jacksonville portion of the convention is still unclear, but if Republicans stick to the itinerary they previously planned, Trump will give his acceptance speech there at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on August 27, the last day of the convention.
The complaint also said that, unless the court issues a restriction, “the congregation of thousands of people in close proximity for extended periods of time will constitute a nuisance and result in massive spread of COVID-19 among the persons in attendance and throughout the City of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida and interfere in Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property and right to be free of infliction of disease and death.”
Florida faces potential challenges in handling the outbreak that could come to a head during the convention. A CNN investigation on Monday found that health authorities in the state often fail to do contact tracing, long considered a key tool in containing an outbreak.
Last week, the city of Jacksonville said that it would be requiring people to wear face masks in public and indoor locations and where social distancing is not possible — something Trump has consistently refused to do in public.
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