The Democratic National Convention will be held over four days in August, but in a far more scaled-back fashion, party officials announced on Wednesday.
Convention delegates who would normally fill a basketball arena to cheer on Joe Biden as he accepts the Democratic presidential nomination are being instructed not to make plans to travel to Milwaukee and are being told they should conduct their business remotely, the Democratic National Convention Committee said. Some members of those delegations are still expected to make the trip to Wisconsin, but the details of who and how many delegates from each state are yet to be determined.
The event is also changing venues because of the reduced in-person attendance. The convention was scheduled to take place at the Fiserv Forum, the 17,000-seat home of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, but it will now be held in the Wisconsin Center, a convention center in downtown Milwaukee.
National conventions give political parties a chance to rally their base and broadcast their message to a national audience. Democrats are still planning to feature four nights of programming, beginning on August 17.
The programming production will be led by Ricky Kirshner, who has produced Super Bowl halftime shows since 2007 and worked on every Democratic National Convention since 1992. Each night there will be live broadcasts from Milwaukee, along with "curated content" from Milwaukee and other satellite cities, locations and landmarks around the country that will be announced at a later date.
Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, intends to accept the party's nomination in Milwaukee, his campaign told CBS News earlier this month.
"This will be a convention for all Americans who wish to join our mission to win the battle for the soul of this nation and build a fairer, more united country for us all," Biden campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon said in a statement Wednesday.
While the number of people coming to Milwaukee still isn't clear, all large-scale gatherings around the convention, such as welcome events and fundraisers, have been canceled. The standing committees of the convention — including the platform, credentials, and rules committees — will conduct their business virtually.
The convention committee decided in April it would postpone the convention from July to August to allow for more time to make contingency plans in case the coronavirus was still preventing mass gatherings. The DNCC said Wednesday that two epidemiologists and infectious disease experts, Dr. W. Ian Lipkin and Dr. Larry Brilliant, will help advise the party on efforts to protect the health and safety of convention attendees.
"Leadership means being able to adapt to any situation," DNC Chair Tom Perez said in a statement. "That's exactly what we've done with our convention. Unlike this president, Joe Biden and Democrats are committed to protecting the health and safety of the American people."
Potential delegates have told CBS News that they weren't sure they'd be comfortable traveling to another state for a gathering with thousands of people in attendance both because of the health concerns surrounding the coronavirus and the cost in an uneasy economy.
In June, the DNC approved a resolution that would allow delegates to vote remotely. Perez said the resolution would enable the party to "adapt and plan" so that each delegate can do the business of the party without risking his or her health, whether that's "in person or by other means to allow for social distancing."
The Democrats also announced that Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson will serve as permanent chair for the 2020 convention. The chair presides over all official convention business.
Earlier this month Republicans moved their convention speeches from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, after North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and the RNC disagreed over how many participants could attend events in the Spectrum Arena.
The official business of the Republican party will still take place in Charlotte, but only six delegates from each state are allowed to attend while the rest can head to Jacksonville.