Democratic donors who are not traveling to Milwaukee will soon receive swag bags in the mail that are filled with commemorative pins, buttons and the formal credentials that would have been waiting for them at their hotels.
Some fund-raisers and donors had the option of “convention packages” that promise activities like “taste of the trail” (for donating $250,000), a “preferred convention welcome kit” ($100,000) or “afternoon briefings and other convention week daytime content” ($50,000 and up) — despite the largely virtual nature of the festivities.
The decision to keep Mr. Biden away from what was left of the Milwaukee convention — an event that in June was moved out of the city’s basketball arena to a smaller convention center, while delegates were told to stay home — came after epidemiologists determined it would not be safe for even 300 people to gather in one place from across the country.
“When it became clear in past days that the pandemic was not abating, we took these actions,” Mr. Perez said in an interview Wednesday. “We have an absolutely top-shelf team of people producing the convention and while it will be different from any convention before, I think it has real possibility to be more exciting and exhilarating than ever before.”
Moving the remaining convention segments planned for Milwaukee is a blow to the city, which has lost the chance to show how pleasant Wisconsin summers are to a global audience — and the hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact envisioned when Mr. Perez awarded the city the convention in 2018.
“I completely understand the decision,” said Alex Lasry, the finance chairman for the convention’s host committee, but he added he was deeply disappointed for the city.
“For us to go there in person, we would put a whole bunch of people from Milwaukee and surrounding areas in harm’s way — not going to do that,” said Representative Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Democrat who is a co-chairman of Mr. Biden’s campaign. “The convention is a big TV production anyway. We’re still going to have that, we’ll still have our speakers, make our case for why Joe Biden should be the next president.”