How to plan for storms or hurricanes during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 3:50 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 10:02:22-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Planning for a storm or hurricane is stressful enough. So what are we supposed to do during a pandemic?

ABC Action News spoke with experts about how to tackle this weekend’s system heading towards Florida.

“We are in the midst of a pandemic so things are going to be different when we are looking at a shelter and added evacuation,” Ashley J. Johnson with Pinellas County said.

When it comes to your hurricane kits, nothing changes.

According to FEMA, you’ll need the following:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home).
  • Flashlight.
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible).
  • Extra batteries.
  • First aid kit.
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items.
  • Multi-purpose tool, like a Swiss Army knife.
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items.
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies).
  • Cell phone with charger.
  • Family and emergency contact information.
  • Extra cash (ATMs might be inoperable).
  • Extra fuel for generator and car.

But because of the pandemic, you’ll want to add hand sanitizers and masks as well.

Pinellas County explains to ABC Action News that residents will also want to consider staying local for evacuations.

“We mean evacuate with family, friends, someone that is not in an evacuation zone,” Johnson said.

Governor Ron DeSantis gave a brief statement to the public Wednesday saying his team is keeping an eye on the system.

“It is possible of impacts across the state of Florida and we see those impacts anywhere from severe storms all the way up to a hurricane,” he said.

How stores are responding will change as well. Walmart says it is watching the storm to see how it will impact the state.

“Our Emergency Operations Center monitors storms and, other potential disasters, in real-time. We assess the status of our facilities and will operate as long as it is safe to do so.”
Walmart Spokesperson

Shelters will be open across the Tampa Bay area if need be. Social distancing will be required and so will masks.