Mayor Curry urges Jacksonville residents to prepare for storm

Kaitlyn Bowers, Video Director

Mayor Lenny Curry is urging residents of Jacksonville to prepare for Tropical Storm Isaias, which could potentially hit Florida this weekend. 

“Even though we have uncertainty regarding the cone you’re seeing on your local and national news channels, it covers a wide area and that’s why this is the time to prepare,” said Mayor Curry in his July 30th update. 

Mayor Curry urges citizens to prepare an emergency kit with supplies such as “nonperishable foods, flashlights, batteries, medications, important papers, and more.”

It is also suggested to refer to the emergency preparedness guide that was mailed out to all Duval voters, which has a checklist of all supplies needed. A virtual copy of the checklist can be found here. The website also has other important information such as what zone you live in and if your area is prone to flooding. 

According to the mayor, the Red Cross and United Way are resources that are available if citizens are in financial trouble and cannot afford their own supplies. Curry also asks that citizens help out their neighbors and loved ones to make sure they have what they need. 

“I’ve said all along with COVID-19 that we’re all in this together and that goes for storms as well and life in general,” said Curry. 

Curry assures that there are plans in place in the case of evacuation. According to him, in cases in the past, less than 5,000 Jacksonville residents had to go to a shelter after evacuation. While COVID is a concern, Curry ensures that these plans, which are months in the making, take the virus into consideration. 

According to Jacksonville Emergency Preparedness Division Chief Steve Woodard, there are 29 emergency shelter locations that the city can use if necessary, as opposed to the normal 10 to 12 shelters. These shelters allow for proper social distancing. 

Curry also touches on the topic of COVID testing sites, which will have to close due to the storm. The testing sites run by the state announced that they will be closing on Thursday and reopening again later next week. However, according to Curry, all city-run testing sites will remain open. 

“We have six city-funded sites open to the public that are only seeing a fraction of the individuals they can handle,” said Curry. 

The mayor also reminds citizens to keep following social distancing guidelines when shopping for emergency supplies, as stores will likely become busier. 

“People just need to remember when they’re in stores—COVID-19 is with us,” said Curry. “Keep your distance, wear your mask, and be thoughtful of other folks.”