Republicans expect to move their national convention from Charlotte, N.C., to Jacksonville, Fla., a shift planned after President Trump told officials in North Carolina that he did not want to use social distancing measures aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus, according to three senior Republicans.
The decision could change, the Republicans cautioned, but as of now, officials are on track to announce the new location as early as Thursday.
Jacksonville has been Republicans’ top choice for days, after Mr. Trump told the governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, a Democrat, that he needed an answer about whether Charlotte could accommodate the convention in August with a promise that there would not be social distancing.
Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, where Ron DeSantis, a Republican and an ally of Mr. Trump, is the governor. Jacksonville’s mayor, Lenny Curry, is a longtime Republican official.
Once they decided to uproot the convention, Mr. Trump’s aides and Republican officials had wanted to relocate to a state, and a city, controlled by Republicans. Jacksonville also may have enough hotel rooms to accommodate the gathering, people familiar with the discussions said, and it is a comparatively easy drive from Charlotte.
New reported cases of the coronavirus are on the rise in both North Carolina and Florida.
What exactly the event will look like remains unclear. Conventions normally last for four days, with thousands of party officials, delegates, donors, members of the news media and others coming together for speeches and votes.
Officials have said some party business will still be conducted in North Carolina, even with the move, but that the president’s nomination will be celebrated at the new site. Whether any additional business is conducted there remains to be seen.
Mr. Cooper had repeatedly told Mr. Trump that it was too early to make any promises about social distancing, and state health officials said the Republican National Committee and the host committee in Charlotte provided a requested plan for safely holding the event.
Jacksonville is among the dozens of cities and towns where protesters have called for changes in the treatment of black people by law enforcement. On Tuesday, Mr. Curry walked with protesters who were demonstrating outside City Hall. Early Tuesday morning, city officials took down a confederate statue there.