University Of Utah Making Final Preparations For Vice Presidential Debate
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Both Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris are now in Utah preparing for Wednesday’s vice presidential debate.
After a year’s worth of planning and adjusting for COVID-19, the University of Utah was finalizing its preparations Tuesday to welcome the candidates on campus.
— Derek Petersen (@Derek_Photog) October 6, 2020
On Tuesday, black fencing on campus set a perimeter around Presidents Circle, keeping the general public out of the already scaled-back event.
Just west of campus, a line of trucks were blocking a portion of 200 South in the downtown area outside the Hotel Monaco, where Pence stayed the night following his arrival on Monday.
Now that both candidates are in Utah, more eyes are focused on the Beehive State. Following President Donald Trump’s recent COVID-19 diagnosis, some people are traveling to Salt Lake City to silently protest.
“The White House is a coronavirus hot spot right now because they are not taking it seriously,” said Tom Morran, who drove from out of state.
U of U spokesperson Chris Nelson said the campus is working closely with the Commission on Presidential Debates in order to ensure safety and security. Among those measures will be a distance of 13 feet between Biden and Harris along with a plexiglass barrier.
“To get into the perimeter, starting tonight, you’ll have to have a green wristband,” Nelson said. “That means you tested negative for COVID-19.”
The university’s ARUP Labs is administering the tests at Rice Eccles Stadium.
“We recognize how important it is as a university and state to host this type of civic engagement and drive engagement in the voting process,” Nelson said.
Sixty-five tickets were awarded through a lottery of approximately 4,000 U of U students. Those 65 will be be attending Wednesday’s event after they have been tested.
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