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Florida crafting new hurricane policies amid coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 11:32 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 23:32:04-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — How do you handle a hurricane amid a pandemic?

State officials are working on that question right now, before the storm season starts in June.

Early forecasts predict a higher than normal risk for Florida, and that has State Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz dedicating a team of experts to crafting hurricane/COVID-19 response scenarios.

He says Florida has also signed with national consulting firms to draft first-of-their-kind policies aimed at protecting residents while preventing infection.

Moskowitz says he's hoping for the best this season, but preparing for the worst.

"The signs and the models show that by the heart of hurricane season this should all be calmed down," said Mskowitz. "But that's not how emergency management works. We've got to write plans and come up with protocols for things that may never even happen."

Preparedness experts with the Florida Hurricane Response Hub say they're hearing new state or county rules could include testing for COVID-19 at storm shelters, setting up specific sites for infected, or possibly providing hotel space to those unable to afford a safe place.