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How the pandemic is changing our hurricane preparedness

How pandemic is changing our hurricane preparations
Posted at 3:03 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 01:20:15-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Under normal circumstances, Corpus Christi emergency managers would take their message of hurricane preparedness to the people, but with many people still working from home, that message has gone remote.

While families should at least have an idea of their emergency plans by now, city emergency managers say business emergency plans are just as important.

The start of hurricane season is always a busy time for Corpus Christi's Office of Emergency Management, a time of stressing the importance of emergency plans. While families should at least have an idea of their emergency plans by now, city emergency managers say business emergency plans are just as important.

For businesses, that includes plans for shutting down before and reopening after a hurricane.

“It’s very important for business to get back up as soon as possible, bring the city back to normal,” said Corpus Christi Emergency Management Coordinator Billy Delgado. “It’s very important that they do have a plan in place.”

Corpus Christi was spared the brunt of Hurricane Harvey three years ago. Other communities weren’t as lucky, but their recovery showed that getting businesses up and running go a long way towards recovery as a whole.

“We got very lucky with Harvey in Corpus Christi, the plans that they had in place were very good. We communicated with the businesses during the time,” said Delgado.

This year, however, those preparedness plans are complicated by the pandemic.

“With COVID-19, you have to take into consideration the social distancing, the safety of not only the evacuees, but the employees; the signage,” said Delgado.

Delgado says the city plans to use double the number of buses it normally uses for evacuations. Emergency managers are also working on what to do with COVID-19 patients during an evacuation.

“We’ll make sure that everybody gets out of town safely,” said Delgado.

Delgado says there will be plenty of precautions to prevent spreading COVID-19 in evacuation centers. Emergency managers are finalizing those details. He added anyone riding a city evacuation bus should be masked. If you don’t have a mask, one will be provided at the evacuation center.