The Republican National Convention Committee announced the addition of a physician as a senior adviser for convention planning to ensure that the in-person convention in August is safe for all who are attending. Dr. Jeffrey Runge is joining the team as a senior adviser for health and safety planning. He has 35 years of medical experience and was also the chief medical officer and assistant secretary for health affairs for the Homeland Security Department during George W. Bush's administration.
"We recognize that we're going to see more guidelines and recommendations from different entities, and so we really wanted to bring in somebody that has a background in operational planning, and emergency preparedness response to help us sort through that and figure out the right path forward," RNC Convention spokesperson Blair Ellis told CBS News.
The convention will be taking place in Charlotte, North Carolina over the week of August 24 and is expected to draw around 50,000 people.
Runge will be tasked with communicating with local and state officials about best practices and will advise the convention committee on safety protocols, including determining the appropriate maximum numbers of people in venues, according to two convention officials. Runge could bring on other team members later in the lead-up to the convention.
"We've said from the start that we are committed to hosting a safe and successful 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte, and Dr. Runge's background and expertise will be instrumental as we continue to map out our plans that ensure the health safety of all convention participants and the Charlotte community," said convention president and CEO Marcia Lee Kelly. "We recognize this hasn't been done before, but we remain committed to leading the path forward so that we can safely re-open America and create a five-star event for attendees and guests this August."