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Jacksonville small businesses make their pitch to join the RNC in August

Business owners say the convention could be an opportunity to bounce back from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Several vendors and small businesses are making their pitch to be a part of the Republican National Convention this August.

The reason why? Some businesses say that this could be an opportunity to bounce back from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

The Prime Osborn Convention Center is where many businesses like Elizabeth Bacher’s are trying to land a spot at the RNC.

“We would be tickled to death if we get in,” Bacher, owner of Lizzie’s Cheese Straws said.

The vendors were required to follow social distancing guidelines. Masks were required and vendors spaced six feet apart.

It’s unclear if these guidelines will be in place when the RNC comes to Jacksonville at the end of August.

The prospect of an indoor venue hosting the RNC is also in question.

The Washington Post reported Republican officials are considering moving the convention outdoors due to COVID-19 concern.

TIAA Bank Field and 121 Financial Park, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, respectively, could become new venues for the RNC.

Erin Isaac, the Host Committee communications director sent a statement to First Coast News, saying: “Jacksonville is a world-class destination with state of the art facilities. In addition to [Vystar] Veterans Memorial Arena, TIAA Bank Field, our baseball park and Daily’s Place, as well as other venues will be a part of hosting this historic event here in the River City.”

A republican donor also confirmed to First Coast News that the RNC is considering a change of venue.

Downtown business owners and lawyers are suing the City of Jacksonville to keep the convention out, but some businesses would like the economic boost.

Bacher will follow the guidelines to be a part of the RNC.

“We have no concerns about the RNC coming, they’re taking every precaution they need to do,” Bacher said.

Anthony Swick, vice president of Kuhn Flowers is also hopeful to be in the convention.

“It’s a great opportunity for the city to get the RNC here. To have a political rally could be a positive thing for the community,” Swick said.

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