MILWAUKEE (AP/WFRV) — Organizers say three workers hired to help set up the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee have tested positive for COVID-19.
Daily screening for people working at the convention site, the Wisconsin Center, began last week in preparation for the Aug. 17-20 convention.
Organizers wanted to identify positive cases before the workers entered the venue and were around others.
The center district said in a statement that staff at the Wisconsin Center “followed the guidelines set forth by our client regarding daily health screens.”
On Wednesday, the DNC confirmed Biden and speakers for the convention would no longer travel to Milwaukee “in order to prevent risking the health of our host community as well as the convention’s production teams, security officials, community partners, media and others necessary to orchestrate the event.” Biden will instead address the nation and accept the nomination from his home state of Delaware.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has endorsed Biden for president after not endorsing a candidate during the primary.
In March 2019, the Democratic National Committee selected Milwaukee to host the 2020 national convention. DNC Chairman Tom Perez picked Milwaukee over Miami and Houston. It was intended to be the first time in more than a century that Democrats would gather in a Midwest city other than Chicago to nominate their presidential candidate.
Former Vice President Joe Biden reaffirmed his intention to attend the DNC in Milwaukee to accept the party’s presidential nomination in late July. A month earlier, the DNC’s proceedings were moved from Fiserv Forum to the Wisconsin Center.
In early February, two leaders of Milwaukee’s host committee for the 2020 DNC were fired amid allegations that they oversaw a toxic work environment, a dramatic shakeup less than six months before the showcase political event in swing-state Wisconsin.
By early April, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to grow, the DNC Committee announced the DNC would be postponed until August. The delay was intended to allow “planners more time to determine the most appropriate structure for this historic event.” A few weeks later, Chairman Perez said he expected to hold an “in-person convention” in Milwaukee.
The DNC Committee announced they would hold an almost entirely virtual presidential nominating convention Aug. 17-20 in Milwaukee using live broadcasts and online streaming. Not even during the Civil War or World War II did the two major parties abandon in-person conventions with crowded arenas.
In recent weeks, numerous Wisconsin police departments – including Fond du Lac Police – withdrew commitments to assist Milwaukee Police with policing efforts for the DNC. The departments say the decision is due to concerns over actions by Milwaukee’s Common Council and Fire and Police Commission (FPC).
Milwaukee’s FPC recently voted to demote Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales to captain after questioning how he handled multiple incidents, including ordering officers to fire tear gas and pepper spray at protesters demonstrating over George Floyd’s death.
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