Florida leaders have been tasked for the first time ever to develop a plan for hurricane season while keeping the public safe from COVID-19.
“We assume there are going to be hurricanes every year. That’s the reality. That’s what we have to do," says Governor Ron Desantis.
Florida’s Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz has been tasked with developing the first of their kind policies aimed at protecting residents while preventing infection.
“The signs and the models show that by the heart of hurricane season this should all be calmed down, but that’s not how emergency management works," explains Moskowitz.
There's a lot of big questions that need answered as we prepare for hurricane season. Moskowitz and his team are working with consulting firms to answer these big questions:
- How do we get sick people to safety?
- Where do we place them?
- How do we keep others safe?
“We’ve got to write plans and come up with protocols for things that may never even happen," explains Moskowitz.
That also means they may have to bring new ideas to the table. Some of those include: testing for COVID-19 at storm shelters, using specific sites for the infected and even potentially securing hotel space to ensure those who don't have a safe place, can be socially distant.
“Let’s just hope that we don’t have one. That would be great, but, I think it would be irresponsible for us to put our chips in that basket. We are assuming we’re going to have to deal with some type of storm — major storm this year," explains Moskowitz.
There is one thing state officials definitely won’t see in 2020 — a Governor’s Hurricane Conference.
The annual expo to prep local emergency management teams has been canceled due to the virus.