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NC Republican Convention set for Greenville now canceled

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 8:32 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 1, 2020 at 6:50 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The North Carolina Republican Party has canceled their annual convention set to take place at the Greenville Convention Center this year.

The events are now scheduled to be online only, but city officials say without people coming in-person to the convention, it stopped a potential economic impact to the city.

Mayor P.J. Connelly said, “We had a projected economic impact for our community of about $930,000.”

Connelly says the North Carolina Republican Party convention being canceled will take a toll on the impact to surrounding businesses.

“They were going to spend money at our local stores. They were going to spend money in our local restaurants and just kind of infuse our economy,” said Connelly.

That includes local restaurants like Cafe Duo. Manager Patrick O’Bryan looks forward to these types of boosts.

O’Bryan said, “You can look at anywhere from ten to twenty percent extra, on top of normal business.”

He says the restaurant was already taking a hit with COVID-19 restrictions. And with the convention being no more, they’re just trying to stay afloat.

“When it first started off, because we were just doing takeouts, business definitely suffered,” O’Bryan said.

This cancellation comes after the state health director recommended against holding the convention due to the threat of spreading the coronavirus. Pitt County Republican Party chairman Gary Weaver was sad to see it shut down, as they planned to follow state guidelines.

Weaver said, “I am disappointed, because we told them that we would abide by the law as far as the masks and the six-foot social distancing.”

Weaver believes there were other motivations behind the decision.

“I think it’s political. And I’ll tell you the reason why: is if they’re saying that we should wear masks and do the social distancing, then why not have the convention?,” Weaver said.

However, Mayor Connelly says there’s always hope for next year.

“I think there’s an opportunity. We can always talk about maybe 2021. Maybe that’s a possibility. We’ll continue to work with the NCGOP,” Connelly said.

Connelly also says GOP officials may try to plan another election event for later this year in Greenville instead.

Previous Story:

The North Carolina Republican Party has canceled its annual in-person convention scheduled for the Greenville Convention Center after the state health director recommended against holding it due to the COVID-19 transmission threat.

The convention was originally set for May in Greenville, but GOP officials delayed the event until July. Now they’ll hold a virtual-only convention to choose delegates to the Republican National Convention and complete other business.

President Donald Trump announced four weeks ago that most of the national convention would be moved out of Charlotte after Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper wouldn’t agree that the president could have a full arena for his nomination acceptance speech.

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