Democratic Convention moves to a smaller place as delegates are urged to stay away

WASHINGTON – The Democratic National Convention will move from the Milwaukee professional basketball court, and state delegations are urged not to travel to the city due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, party officials said Wednesday.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. still intends to travel to Milwaukee to accept his party’s presidential nomination, his campaign manager said, but neither his campaign nor the Democratic National Committee have made firm commitments that Biden will attend.

The Democratic convention will be “anchored” in Milwaukee, but the four-night event in mid-August “will include live broadcasts and curated content from Milwaukee and other satellite cities, locations and landmarks across the country,” according to a statement from press.

The announcement that the convention will move five blocks from the 17,000-seat Fiserv Forum to Wisconsin Center Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Convention Center, contrasts with plans made by Republicans, who at the behest of President Trump moved the venue for their acceptance of nomination. speech from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, where local officials have required fewer safety precautions, even as cases of the virus continue to rise in Florida.

The news came when the United States reported the highest total number of new coronavirus cases in a single day since late April.

It is not yet clear how many delegates will gather in Milwaukee for the convention, or even who will be allowed to enter the convention hall. It has not yet been decided what kind of access journalists will have to the process.

It’s also unclear how much space convention planners will need for a production footprint or what social distancing requirements will be in effect when the convention begins on August 17.

And while Mr. Biden’s campaign insists he plans to attend, they have yet to make a firm commitment.

“Vice President Biden intends to proudly accept his party’s nomination in Milwaukee,” said Jen O’Malley Dillon, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager. “The city of Milwaukee has been an incredible partner and we are committed to highlighting Wisconsin as a key state on the battlefield at our convention this August.”

The coronavirus pandemic has forced Democrats to dramatically roll back plans for what would have been a grand celebration of Mr. Biden and the party’s efforts to overthrow Mr. Trump. A survey of DNC members last month found that the vast majority of them did not want to attend a convention in person, citing the health risks of the pandemic.

All official convention affairs – setting its rules, adopting a platform and formally nominating Mr. Biden and his running mate – will be conducted remotely, party officials said.

Organizers of the convention have added two epidemiologists, W. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University and Larry Brilliant, known for his work on smallpox eradication, to advise officials on public health precautions at the convention.

Organizers also announced that they had canceled all official parties and events that were to take place before and during the event in Milwaukee.

The number of new cases of coronavirus in Wisconsin has currently declined since a peak in late May, according to a New York Times database. Milwaukee County has the highest positive case rate in the state.