CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Republican Party formally nominated President Donald Trump for a second term in the White House Monday, one of the first acts of a GOP convention that has been dramatically scaled down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Trump has sought to minimize the toll of the pandemic, but its impact was evident as proceedings began in Charlotte. Instead of the thousands of people who were expected to converge on this city for a week-long extravaganza, just 336 delegates participated in a roll-call vote from a Charlotte Convention Center ballroom.

Earlier, the convention renominated Vice President Mike Pence, and he thanked the delegates in person.

“The choice in this election has never been clearer and the stakes have never been higher,” Pence said. “We’re going to make American great again. Again.”

The GOP convention is a crucial moment for Trump, who is trailing in national and battleground state polls and under intense pressure to turn the race around. Just 23% think the country is heading in the right direction, while 75% think it’s on the wrong path, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Many of the usual trappings of a convention were present on Monday, including signs designating each state and gift bags with Republican swag. But chairs on the ballroom floor were arranged with lots of space between them and convention organizers told participants to wear masks, though adherence to the rule was uneven.

“We are obviously disappointed we could not hold this event in the same way we had originally planned,” GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel said as she began the proceedings while thanking Charlotte for allowing the convention to move forward in its truncated form.

The fact an in-person meeting was held at all marked a sharp contrast with Democrats.

Last week, the Democrats created a well-received roll call via video montage with diverse officials and others from states across the country. The Republicans, overwhelmingly white, spoke from the ballroom floor.

After Trump’s renomination, much of the action is shifting to Washington, where Republicans will spend the week trying to convince the American people that the president deserves a second term.