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Severe weather shelters during coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions

The decision to seek shelter is made more difficult by the fear of COVID-19 exposure
Credit: TEGNA
Severe Weather

ALABAMA, USA — With the spread of coronavirus, many people have wondered what they should do in case of severe weather and needing to find shelter.

However, many local EMAs have already released statement about it.

The Lawrence County EMA Director, Johnny Cantrell, said that the Lawrence County shelters will be open, but urges people to understand that they will not be able to adhere to the strict guidelines of social distancing due to needing to fit in as many people as they can. You can bring a mask if you want, but they cannot provide one to you.

Colbert County EMA said that their shelters will be open during any severe weather event and referred to a statement released by The Alabama Department of Public Health and National Weather Services. 

From the National Weather Services offices in Alabama, and the Alabama Department of Public Health: "The decision to seek shelter in a community storm shelter is certainly made more difficult by the consideration for COVID-19, and each individual will need to make an educated decision on where and when to shelter from a tornado.

Limestone County gave more guidelines for if you needed to take shelter in one of their community safe rooms.

The Huntsville-Madison County EMA released this statement, essentially saying that it will be up to the individual shelter management in regards to opening and sanitation procedures going forward. The First Seventh-day Adventist Church’s storm shelter (1303 Evangel Drive, Huntsville, AL) WILL NOT be open today.

Jackson County EMA gave a statement about their shelters and their recommendations before going in.

Morgan County EMA says that shelters will be open, but advise citizens that by entering they understand that you are going against CDC recommendations of being in groups of 10 or less.

Marshall County EMA says that all shelters actually operated by the Marshall County Commission will be open and are being sanitized today. They also posted a list of shelters and their pet and handicap availability.

Alabama police officers can now enforce the emergency State Health O... rders for COVID-19. There's now clear consequences for willingly breaking the state's health orders meant to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. On Saturday, Alabama's Attorney General gave police officers statewide the authority to enforce emergency State Health Orders for COVID-19.

DeKalb County said that they are pushing the ADPH recommendations down toward the municipalities that provide storm shelters, since DeKalb County does not own any shelters. The municipalities will make a decision on how and when to open, and what restrictions to put in place.

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