Washington, June 16 (IANS) Supporters of US President Donald Trump will get their temperature checked and receive masks and hand sanitizers before entering his campaign rally venue in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, an official said.
There will be precautions for the heat and bottled water as well, Xinhua news agency quoted Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale as saying in a tweet on Monday.
Saturday’s rally is first of its kind for Trump in more than three months.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told CNBC News that masks will be optional but each attendee of the Tulsa rally will receive one.
Speaking to reporters at the White House on Monday, Trump claimed Oklahoma “has done very well” in addressing the coronavirus outbreak.
“Oklahoma is at a very low number,” Trump said. “They’ve done really fantastic work.”
As of Monday, there were more than 8,400 coronavirus infections in Oklahoma with 359 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Nationwide, there have been 2,113,372 confirmed cases and 116,135 deaths.
Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday that Oklahoma has “flattened the curve”.
“Their hospital capacity is abundant. The number of cases in Oklahoma — it’s declined precipitously, and we feel very confident going forward with the rally this coming weekend,” Pence said.
After a public outcry against its timing, Trump had rescheduled the Tulsa rally, originally scheduled for Friday, the Juneteenth, a day that memorializes the end of slavery in the US.
Tulsa was home to one of the worst incidents of racial violence in the nation’s history, where many African-Americans were massacred 99 years ago.
The rally will come after nationwide protests over police brutality and racial injustice following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25.
The editorial board of Tulsa World, a local newspaper, on Monday called on Trump to reconsider hosting the rally.
“Tulsa and the nation remain on edge after the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis,” the board wrote.
“There may also be confrontation and inappropriate behaviour from some.”
It also added that the city “is still dealing with the challenges created by a pandemic”.
“The city and state have authorized reopening, but that doesn’t make a mass indoor gathering of people pressed closely together and cheering a good idea,” according to the editorial.
“There is no treatment for COVID-19 and no vaccine. It will be our health care system that will have to deal with whatever effects follow.”
Trump pushed back against the criticism, tweeting on Monday that the “Far Left Fake News Media” is “trying to COVID shame us on our big rallies” despite having “no problem” with the massive protests that have taken place across the nation following Floyd’s death.
“Won’t work,” he added.
A registration form for the Tulsa rally says: “By clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present.
“By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.,” as well as the rally site or organizers, “liable for any illness or injury”.
On Monday, Trump also tried to downplay concerns over a rising number of coronavirus cases in some states, attributing them to more testing.
“If we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“Without testing, or weak testing, we would be showing almost no cases,” he said additionally in a tweet.
“Testing is a double edged sword – Makes us look bad, but good to have.”