Houston Cancels Texas Republican Convention Over Pandemic

Houston Cancels Texas Republican Convention Over Pandemic
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a press conference in Austin, Texas, on May 18, 2020. (Lynda M. Gonzalez/Pool/Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

Update: Houston officials canceled the Texas Republican Party's in-person convention on July 8.

Original story below.

The Texas Republican Party is moving forward with plans to hold an in-person convention in Houston this month.

The convention is scheduled to take place from July 13 to July 18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Members of the party's executive committee voted late Thursday to move forward with plans to hold the event.

"After extensive debate Thursday evening, the State Republican Executive Committee reinforced its support for proceeding with our State Convention in person in Houston," James Dickey, chairman of the state GOP, said in a statement.

The convention will be taking a number of precautions and have safety measures in place aimed at preventing transmission of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

Temperature scanners will be present at entryways and meeting areas will be deep-cleaned after each gathering while hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the convention center.

Expanded seating will be in place to allow for social distancing.

And sponsors donated masks, which will be handed out so attendees are in compliance with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order.

No other events are scheduled to be held at the center, which can hold thousands of people, this month.

 A sign is posted on a bank entrance in El Paso, Texas, on July 1, 2020. (Cengiz Yar/Getty Images)
A sign is posted on a bank entrance in El Paso, Texas, on July 1, 2020. (Cengiz Yar/Getty Images)
Abbott, a Republican, issued an order earlier Thursday requiring all Texans to wear a face-covering over the nose and mouth when inside a business or another building open to the public in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the CCP virus.

Violators face a warning; a second violation can land a $250 fine.

"Texans should wear a face covering for the health of their families, friends, and for all fellow Texans," the governor said in a video message.

He said he issued the order due to "substantial increases" in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Along with the number of cases, the percent of people being tested has risen. The number of hospitalizations has also increased, hitting 7,382 on Thursday.

According to the Texas Health and Human Services, there are an estimated 82,732 active cases of the new disease. Daily new reported cases reached over 8,000 on Wednesday.

The Texas Medical Association, an advertiser at the Texas GOP event, sent a letter to party officials urging them to reconsider its decision to hold an in-person event.

The group announced Friday it was withdrawing from the convention.

"With or without masks, an indoor gathering of thousands of people from all around the state in a city with tens of thousands of active COVID-19 cases poses a significant health risk to conventiongoers, convention workers, health care workers, and the residents of Houston," Dr. Diana Fite, president of the association, said in a statement.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.
Related Topics