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Florida Rethinks Hurricane Plans in Midst of Coronavirus

Florida planning for hurricane season during pandemic

Source: Insurance Journal

Florida’s emergency manager is expressing complete confidence that the state is prepared for a hurricane during the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, but some local directors aren’t sharing the same level of certainty.

The state has massive stockpiles of personal protection equipment reserved for storms, including 10 million masks, and has new partnerships with hotels, supermarkets and other vendors that put Florida in a good place, said Jared Moskowitz, director of the Division of Emergency Management.

“Clearly nobody has pandemic experience out there in hurricane season,” Moskowitz said. “Everything that we do will be affected in one way or another – big and or small – by COVID-19.”

Moskowitz says Florida is at 100 on a scale of 0 to 100 in preparedness. But some county emergency management directors have concerns, especially about how to shelter people safely.

The challenges of preparing for hurricanes are about as diverse as the state itself. From Miami-Dade County, which has been the epicenter of the virus outbreak with more than 17,000 cases, to rural coastal counties like Taylor, where there have only been 16 confirmed cases, issues can vary greatly in terms of available shelter space, supplies and money to prepare for and recover from a storm.

The state and counties are considering ways to spread out shelter-seekers by using hotels or increasing shelter space. In Walton County, emergency management Director Jeff Goldberg said that may mean using classrooms instead of gymnasiums and hallways. Continue reading.

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