Columbus County has not yet opened emergency shelters ahead of Hurricane Isaias, but if the facilities are opened, they will look a lot different because of COVID-19 precautions.
“The capacity of county shelters for the 2020 hurricane season will be determined and limited by the number of square feet available and required per person,” the county said in a press release Friday afternoon. “County shelters should be considered a last resort with very basic provisions for a safe, dry environment, and limited meal capabilities.”
The county said cots will not be available for the first two days after shelters opened. “The need for cots will be reevaluated at the end of the first two days,” the press release stated.
People evacuating to a shelter should take sleeping bags, blankets and pillows as well as a disaster kit. Suggested items to include in a disaster kit are listed at www.ready.gov/kit.
The county press release explained that at least one shelter will be designated a pet co-location shelter, although it did not specify which one. Only cats and dogs will be accepted, and owners must stay at the shelter with their pets. Pets will be housed in a separate area of the shelter due to health and safety concerns. Owners should bring their pet’s vaccination records and at least five to seven days supply of food.
Shelter locations are East Columbus Junior-Senior High School, West Columbus High School, Edgewood Elementary School and South Columbus High School. The press release said a shelter for the “Guideway/Nakina/Old Dock” areas was “TBD.”
If the county opens shelters, that information will be posted at NRcolumbus.com.