EL PASO, Texas -- Coronavirus concerns didn't inhibit a crowd from being staged for President Donald Trump's finale to the Republican National Convention.
It was a scene never before seen at the White House: About 1,500 people packed tightly together Thursday night on the South Lawn so Trump could accept his party’s nomination for re-election in front of a roaring crowd.
The federal guidelines about keeping distance, avoiding crowds and wearing face masks to fight the spread of the virus were not followed.
Borderland Republicans who gathered at the GOP's El Paso headquarters for a Trump acceptance speech viewing party seemed to follow the national party's lead.
Face masks were not required and few could be seen wearing them; chairs were placed close together in a room - with no space for social distancing, according to images captured by an ABC-7 photographer.
"Of maybe 30 people, five had masks - I was one of them," the photographer said afterwards. "People (were) greeting each other and hugging... social distancing was non-existent."
Bob Peña of the Republican Alliance of El Paso described the gathering differently.
"We encouraged everyone to wear a mask but because many people were eating and drinking, they might not have been wearing a mask all the time," Peña told ABC-7 on Friday.
He added, "I know we were under the building capacity guidelines, we only had 43 people there. I know we were following the safety guidelines."
But this wasn't the first time in recent weeks that the El Paso GOP has held gatherings that seemingly lacked masks and social distancing. A local event with the state GOP chairman that was reported on by ABC-7 earlier this month drew scrutiny too.
Texas' Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order last month that remains in effect requiring Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces and maintain six feet of social distancing from others in group settings. The measure allows fines to be imposed for violators.
However, the City of El Paso has largely stopped issuing citations for breaking public health orders. Abbott on prior occasions has criticized local governments for not enforcing his Covid mandates.
Meantime, four people tested at the Republican National Convention gathering in Charlotte, North Carolina, came back positive for Covid-19. Health officials said it serves as a reminder that events that eschew safety measures may contribute to the spread of coronavirus.
Two attendees and two individuals working at the event were found to be infected, according to a news release from Mecklenburg County, where Charlotte is located.
RNC delegates from New Mexico who traveled to either events in Charlotte or Trump’s speech at the White House are obligated to self-quarantine as they return home to a state that requires face masks and limits public gatherings.
A spokeswoman for the New Mexico governor's office on Friday said the delegates are subject to a 14-day self-quarantine provision that applies to most travelers as they enter or return to New Mexico.
(The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report.)