Milwaukee Is Hosting a Mostly Virtual DNC. Here’s What That Means.

For starters, no Fiserv Forum and no delegates.

It’s official: The DNC is going to be a mostly virtual event.

Since the pandemic, Milwaukee has waited patiently for updates about what was supposed to be one the biggest events the city has ever hosted. First we learned that the convention was delayed until August 17th, but for quite some time after that news, there was little else

A news release sent by DNC officials Wednesday afternoon provided some long-awaited answers. The DNC is still happening and will be “anchored in Milwaukee,” but the convention will be mostly virtual. 

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So what does that mean? Well, for starters, Fiserv Forum will no longer be a part of the ceremony since such a large venue is no longer necessary. All events will be moved just three blocks south to to the Wisconsin Center. Also, delegates have been advised to not travel to Milwaukee and to instead participate in the convention remotely in an effort to protect public health. 

“Obviously this is not something that I’m excited about,” Mayor Tom Barrett said during a news conference Wednesday. “It’s something that I’ve felt we as a city can be proud of, that we were chosen to host this convention. And the convention still will be here, but it will not be a convention like we have seen in past years for obvious reasons.” 

Official auxiliary events – such as receptions for delegates, media and volunteers – are called off too, since convention organizers will not be hosting in-person parties. 

The economic impact of these changes are unknown. Barrett said city leaders had originally predicted roughly a $200 million infusion of spending in the Milwaukee community from the in-person convention. He said that while these numbers will naturally be lower, he expects an economic boost from the people who will still be traveling to the city for the convention. 

“What is clear is that Milwaukee will remain the stage,” Barrett said. “It will remain the national stage for the Democratic National Convention here in the city of Milwaukee.” 

The convention will be four full days, starting August 17th. Convention planners say Milwaukee will be the host city and anchor the events for the week through live broadcasts and curated content. 

One thing that hasn’t changed is that presumptive nominee Joe Biden plans to travel to Milwaukee to officially accept the nomination here. Details about where he will accept the nomination are yet to be announced. 

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Allison Garcia is the Digital Editor for Milwaukee Magazine.