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With hurricane season, pandemic colliding, not year to put off buying supplies

Coronavirus pandemic could affect your ability to get items in short supply

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The official start of hurricane season is Monday, and while the start of hurricane season is something many are used to, the coronavirus pandemic is changing how we prepare.

NOAA predicts this year’s season will be overly active -- meaning now is the time to prepare.

RELATED | NOAA predicts overly active hurricane season

Here a few items to keep in mind as you prepare for the 2020 hurricane season.

Every year, water is one of the first items to fly off shelves during hurricane season.

As you prepare, it is a good idea to start stocking up on water now -- as well as for all your other hurricane prep essentials.

ACE Hardware says the coronavirus has caused a shortage of necessary items you may be used to getting at ease like propane and gas tanks.

“We seem to always wait until the last minute to buy our water. We run out of water every year. Pallets and pallets of it and we run out, so that’s one of the things we can stock up. It’s not going to go bad," ACE Hardware floor rep Rodney Rogers said. "If you end up not needing it, it will work if a hurricane comes later in the year, you’ll still have it. Get yourself six or eight cases of it.”

In addition to these shortages, the pandemic will change how shelters will run and operate.

This year you will likely have to purchase additional personal protection items to keep you and your family safe.

“Now that we’re mixing hurricane season with the pandemic, you got to remember the things you’ll need there. Rubber gloves, masks, personal items like paper towels, toilet paper -- if you go to hurricane center, you’re going to need to bring your own stuff," Rogers said.

The bottom line, this year’s hurricane season will look a lot different than normal. The pandemic could affect your ability to get the items you need in a timely manner, so start preparing now.

This is not the season to wait until the last minute.

Sales tax holiday

The Florida sales tax “holiday” on disaster-preparedness items begins on Friday.

The tax holiday allows shoppers to buy items, ranging from batteries to portable generators, without paying state and local sales taxes.

The sales tax holiday does not apply to the rental or repair of any of the qualifying items listed below and sales in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment, or airport.

Here is a list of qualifying items.

Qualifying Items Selling for $10 or less:

  • Reusable ice (reusable ice packs)

Selling for $20 or less:

  • Any portable, self-powered light source (powered by battery, solar, hand-crank, or gas):
  • Candles
  • Flashlights
  • Lanterns Selling for

$25 or less:

  • Any gas or diesel fuel container, including LP gas and kerosene containers

Selling for $30 or less:

  • Batteries, including rechargeable batteries, listed sizes only (excluding automobile and boat batteries): AAA-cell | AA-cell | C-cell | D-cell | 6-volt | 9-volt
  • Coolers and ice chests (food-storage; nonelectrical)

Selling for $50 or less:

  • Bungee cords
  • Ground anchor systems
  • Radios (powered by battery, solar, or handcrank)
  • Ratchet straps
  • Tarpaulins (tarps)
  • Tie-down kits
  • Visqueen, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths, and other flexible waterproof sheeting

Selling for $750 or less:

  • Portable generators used to provide light or communications, or to preserve food in the event of a power outage

The 2020 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday begins on Friday, May 29, 2020, and ends on Thursday, June 4, 2020.

Click here for more information.


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