Belmont preps for presidential debate, COVID-19 protocols in place


NASHVILLE, Tenn (WKRN) — Next week all eyes will be on Nashville as Belmont hosts the last presidential debate.

This is the second time the university has hosted a presidential debate. The first was back in 2008 when John McCain ran against Barack Obama. Twelve years later, the event will look a little different with COVID-19 precautions in place.

Belmont President, Dr. Bob Fisher, addressed a room of reporters Friday about all the adjustments event coordinators have made over the last several months to ensure a safe debate on campus.

“This debate represents the last opportunity for the country to see the two candidates side by side before they go to the polls on November the third,” said Dr. Fisher.

To help avoid the spread of COVID-19, the event is not open to the public. But there are strict guidelines in place to keep both presidential candidates and members of the media safe.

Dr. Michael Caldwell, Nashville’s Director of Public Health, said everyone in attendance must wear masks, stay socially distanced, and have their temperatures taken.

Everyone, including Joe Biden and President Trump, must also test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of the debate to be allowed inside.

“My staff and I have had several meetings and walkthroughs with our partners at Belmont and we all feel confident that the protocols that are in place leading up to, during, and after, this historic event will ensure that participants will be safe on this site,” said Dr. Caldwell.

Inside the media tent, workstations are spread at least six feet apart, hand sanitizer is readily available, and a filtration system recycles the air about thirteen times an hour.

Inside the actual debate hall, Biden and President Trump will be seated roughly twelve feet apart on the stage and a small number of their family members and campaign staff will be seated in the audience.

Network news cameras will cover the debate from individual booths at the top of the auditorium.

“As safety goes for events, this is as safe an environment you’re gonna have to have close to a zero risk as possible,” said Dr. Caldwell.

The campus will only be open to people with pre-approved credentials on debate night. Supporters of protestors will not be allowed on Belmont property.

Metro Public Works shared this list of road closures which begin Sunday.

StreetFrom DateTo DateFrom StreetTo Street
ACKLEN AVE10/21/202010/23/202012TH AVE S15TH AVE S
ACKLEN AVE10/18/202010/22/202017TH AVE S18TH AVE S
BELMONT BLVD10/21/202010/23/202018TH AVE SDELMAR AVE
CALDWELL AVE10/21/202010/23/202012TH AVE S15TH AVE S
DELMAR AVE10/21/202010/23/202015TH AVEBELMONT BLVD

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