Walton County hurricane preparations include plans for social distancing

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 7:27 PM CDT
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WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Hurricane season is underway, and while a storm is not heading our way, Walton County emergency management officials are getting ready anyway.

National Weather Service officials said we’re about to enter the peak of hurricane season.

"It runs from August to October, that's when about 85 percent of hurricanes that form in the Atlantic historically have occurred," said Kelly Godsey, National Weather Service Tallahassee.

And in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, families in the panhandle need to be ready for anything.

Walton County Emergency Management Director Jeff Goldberg said, this year they’re making changes to accommodate social distancing in their evacuation shelters.

“In the past, we usually have 20 square feet per person, now because of social distancing we’re going to put 60 square feet per person, which is going to take a toll on some of our shelters,” said Goldberg.

Walton County’s primary shelter is at Freeport High School, but they may have to open a second one if people have to evacuate during a pandemic.

If you do have to evacuate to a shelter, you will be screened for COVID-19 when you get there, and you will be required to wear a mask unless you have a medical condition that exempts you from it.

"Folks that come in that are COVID positive, we have set up separate areas within both of our shelters that they're going to go so they don't infect the rest of the general population," said Goldberg.

Officials with the National Weather Service said you should always have enough supplies for five to seven days, for each of your family members.

“So in the event there’s a lengthy power outage, you’ll have some supplies on hand. Also making sure you have your important papers like your insurance forms so that if you do have to evacuate the area, that information is with you,” said Godsey.

Both the primary and secondary shelters allow for dogs and cats, and you have to take care of them the entire time you’re there.

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