At a time when many people are looking for a sense of when a return to normal life will happen after the coronavirus pandemic, at a time when major uncertainty is happening in the Milwaukee business community in the wake of that pandemic…
…the announcement that the Democratic National Convention, originally scheduled for mid-July, will stay in Milwaukee and instead happen in mid-August gives shots in the arm in both of those ends.
“This is really good news at a time when we need really good news,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett during a video news conference shortly after the news was released.
“Let’s hope by August, life is back to normal for every one of us.”
He said the Democratic National Committee was not going to waver on its part to making sure the convention, where the Democratic presidential candidate is finalized, would still happen in the Brew City.
“It was always clear to me that they are clear to nominating the next presidential nominee here in the City of Milwaukee. This announcement today underscores their commitment to do that,” said the Mayor.
That said, some differences are expected with both the format of the convention and number of visitors traveling here.
“How many visitors? We don’t know. How many days to the convention? We don’t know,” remarked Barrett, who hopes the same level of in-person presence will happen – the possibility of 50,000-plus visitors after months of what essentially has become a voluntary mass-travel lockdown for most of America due to coronavirus.
“It is far too early to even predict what that will be. Hopefully it will look like that, but I cannot come close to making that assertion with any confidence. I would hope to say yes…but there are a lot of twists and turns between now and (then).”
The Mayor said that a lot of behind the scenes work has been done to guarantee that necessities for the convention would happen, from open space at Fiserv Forum and the Wisconsin Center District to hotels, volunteers and Secret Service security effort – but without compromising the work the city is doing to help save lives in the wake of the deadly virus and the worldwide pandemic from it.
“Over the last month, month and a half, our city’s resources…have been committed to dealing with the COVID-19 crisis and concurrent economic crisis,” said the Mayor.
“(The convention) immediately got moved to the back burner, but it never got taken off the stove. It will remain on the back burner in terms of what we’re doing right now.”
But the extra time to serve that need and keep the convention here will, in Barrett’s eyes, allow the city to recover and still gain a worldwide spotlight for one of the most anticipated political conventions in recent memory.
“By having this additional month of breathing room, we are hoping this will allow us to pivot once we are out of turbulence and use this as a shot of the arm,” said Barrett.
“I consider this extremely good news.”