Workers appear to remove social distancing stickers at Trump rally
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Volunteers for Donald Trump appeared to remove stickers encouraging social distancing from an arena hosting the president’s campaign rally.
Footage obtained by the Washington Post shows people taking off stickers from seats that said “do not sit here” for Mr Trump’s campaign event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, his first in 2020.
It’s unclear who the men are, but photos of the June 20 rally show some visitors sitting together rather than leaving spaces between them, although the arena was only around one-third full.
The removal would contradict plans set by the Tulsa arena, which reportedly purchased 12,000 stickers to help people keep to social distancing rules at the rally.
Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma (Getty Images)
Doug Thornton, a senior staff member at ASM Global, the company that manages the arena, said the Trump campaign had asked the firm before the rally not to put up the stickers or signs encouraging social distancing.
ASM Global put up the stickers, in line with their safety policy, but Mr Thornton told Billboard magazine after the event: “The campaign went through and removed the stickers.”
A Trump campaign spokesman told the Washington Post: “The rally was in full compliance with local requirements. In addition, every rally attendee received a temperature check prior to admission, was given a face mask, and provided ample access to hand sanitizer.”
In a separate statement, the campaign said: “There were signs posted and we are not aware of any campaign staff asking that they be removed.”
Supporters of US President Donald Trump wait to enter the gates leading to the BOK Center ahead of his campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma (AFP via Getty Images)
The rally went ahead despite concerns from Oklahoma public health authorities and many residents that it could trigger a coronavirus outbreak, in a state where cases were already rising sharply.
The Trump campaign spokesman said before the event: “We take safety seriously, which is why we’re doing temperature checks for everyone attending, and providing masks and hand sanitizer. This will be a Trump rally, which means a big, boisterous crowd.
“We don’t recall the media shaming demonstrators about social distancing – in fact the media were cheering them on.”
It emerged after the Tulsa event that eight campaign staff members had tested positive for coronavirus, leading to several top officials going into quarantine.