'Prepare now’: Hurricane preparation tax-free holiday underway

VIDEO: 'Prepare now?: Hurricane preparation tax-free holiday underway

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — If you’re looking to stock up on hurricane supplies, now is a good time to do that.

Florida shoppers can begin to avoid paying sales taxes while organizing their disaster-preparation items for the 2020 hurricane season.

Florida lawmakers included the disaster-preparation tax holiday in a $47.7 million tax package that was approved in March.

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Retail officials hope the seven-day tax “holiday” will help businesses by providing relief from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tax holiday will end on June 4.

“I think you’re going to see, again, additional incentives from the retailers to encourage sales for disaster preparation,” said Florida Retail Federation President and CEO Scott Shalley. "You’ll continue to see, of course, all of the safe and smart shopping measures in terms of social distancing and sanitizing. But you’re going to see an emphasis on sales of batteries, coolers and those sorts of things that help people get prepared now.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s storm-preparation checklist includes:

  • flashlights
  • batteries
  • portable radios
  • multi-purpose tools
  • emergency fuel
  • personal hygiene items
  • cell-phone chargers
  • emergency contact lists and copies of personal documents
  • water
  • medication for three days to two weeks

Hurricane season starts June 1.

Gov. Ron DeSantis during a news conference Friday told people to have a plan in place for hurricane season.

“Prepare now, take advantage of this holiday,” he said during a news conference Friday.

Florida Emergency Management director Jared Moskowitz talked about the preparations the state is taking, as hurricane season gets started right on the heels of COVID-19.

“We have 10 million masks in reserve for hurricane season, we have 5,000 thermometers, 5 million gloves, a million face shields, and we went out and purchased 50 large capacity generators,” he said.

Moskowitz also talked about shelters throughout the state will handle social distancing should a hurricane hit Florida.

“We’re working with the CDC FEMA the red cross on shelter standards,” he said.

The News Service of Florida provided this report.