JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hundreds of people who planned to spend the weekend sheltering in the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront downtown are having to make other plans after management began evacuating the hotel on Friday.
The hotel is in Zone B, which is under the mandatory evacuation order for Saturday.
Several people were at the hotel expecting to ride out the storm there. The hotel had waived it's 50-pound limit on pets for those evacuating the storm, and several planned to stay.
The Dalton Agency released a statement from Luis Aloma, general manager, Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront:
The safety and security of guests and associates is a top priority at Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront. At this time, due to a mandatory evacuation, the hotel is assisting with guest evacuation and has ceased normal hotel operations. During temporary hotel closures, pre-paid reservations will be fully refunded and cancellation fees will be waived. Guests with questions regarding a future reservation may contact Hyatt’s Global Reservations Center at 1-800-323-7249.
Some told News4Jax they were accepting a refund and would head farther north or west.
"We were a little surprised, but we're OK with it," Boca Raton resident Lisa Cauff said. "We're going to head to Orlando. We figure if they're looking out for our safety, we should do the same thing."
One guest told News4Jax that anyone who wants to stay in the hotel must sign a waiver.
"My daughter's too ill right now and I have health issues, so we just cannot travel anywhere else and we have no reservations and nowhere to find any," Melbourne resident Eileen Phillips said. "They'll just have to sign a waiver and stay here with me. Misery loves company."
The Jacksonville Landing, which is next to the Hyatt on the Northbank, has canceled all outdoor activities for Saturday and will close completely on Sunday and Monday.