MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Being prepared for a hurricane during a pandemic means packing some patience. Stores are paying attention to social distancing and capacity limitations, which means longer lines at supermarkets.
There are also reminders to at least have one car in the household that is filled completely with gas.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said now’s the time for everyone to be prepared as Hurricane Isaias is expected to skirt the east coast of Florida sometime Saturday.
He said preparations include making sure you have enough food and water for each person and pet in your household for at least 3 days.
"Make sure your hurricane shutters and battery-powered radios are in good working order," Gimenez said.
Yard and construction debris should be secured.
He reminded restaurant owners who have been restricted to outdoor dining due to COVID-19 to take the proper precautions, too.
“I would start to move a lot of that equipment – tables, etc., indoors before the onset of tropical storm force winds,” Gimenez said.
Parks, beaches, marinas, and golf courses close at 8 p.m. Friday.
COVID-19 testing sites are already closed. 20 evacuation centers in the county are on standby. If evacuated, the sites would include new COVID-19 protocols that include face coverings, hand sanitizer and social-distancing measures.
"If you are positive for COVID-19, we may have to put some folks in classrooms," Gimenez said.
Miami International Airport remains open. Its control tower closes once there are sustained winds, not gusts, of 55 miles per hour.
There's also an effort underway to register people who are dependent on electricity, such as people on critical, life saving medical systems such as respirators. They can be registered for transport if there are power outages.
Gimenez reminded people in need to call 311 to register. ”We cannot pick up people once the storm is getting close,” Gimenez said.
For people that will be huddled together in a household, especially in common areas such as a living room, health officials suggest wearing a face covering inside when in those areas.
COVID-19 testing sites will reopen as soon as the storm passes and they can assess if there has been any damage. The schedule for reopening at this time is as early as Monday.
As for the transit schedules, there has been no announcement yet of changes to the transit system in Miami-Dade County.
Also, the Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management has updated its service information for residents.
- Bulk waste scheduling and illegal dumping reporting via the 311 Contact Center, online and through the MDC Solid Waste phone app have been suspended as of 9 a.m. Friday, July 31st, until further notice.
- Bulk waste crews will continue collecting previously scheduled piles Friday and Saturday until the arrival of tropical storm force winds.
- Residents who scheduled bulky pickups prior to the suspension of bulk collection services are reminded that their pile may not be addressed as a result of the arrival of tropical storm force winds. Residents are strongly encouraged to use the closest Neighborhood Trash and Recycling Center*(TRC) for do-it-yourself disposal of household trash and tree cuttings needing immediate disposal. Bulk trash items that cannot be addressed or taken to a TRC should be removed from the curbside and secured in a garage, carport or enclosed patio area.
- Trash and Recycling Centers will observe extended hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until further notice. Masks/face coverings are required while in the facilities.
- Residents are reminded to secure green and blue carts indoors or in a garage or patio to prevent carts from being lost or damaged during strong winds or heavy rains. For information on these services, visit the Department’s website at www.miamidade.gov/solidwaste.