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Survey: COVID-19 Makes Many Floridians Less Likely To Evacuate During Severe Weather

Jacksonville Beach flooding is pictured on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 after Hurricane Matthew passed through.
Charlie Riedel
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A new AAA survey released Monday found that 42% of Floridians interviewed by the auto club group said they would be less likely to evacuate for a storm this year for fear of contracting the coronavirus.

Twenty-nine percent of the residents who responded said they would not leave their homes if they were warned to evacuate.


“The coronavirus just complicates matters even more for those preparing for what is forecast to be an active hurricane season,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group in an email to WJCT News.

Of those who would evacuate, 80% said they would leave for a Category 2 hurricane or greater.

AAA Survey: What Category Hurricane Would Floridians Evacuate For?

  • Category 1       74-95 mph winds                8%
  • Category 2      96-110 mph winds             23%
  • Category 3      111-129 mph winds            29%
  • Category 4      130-156 mph winds           19%
  • Category 5      157 mph or higher winds   9%
  • Did not know                                                    12%

The survey’s margin of error was  5.9%, with 401 completed surveys that were weighted to match the demographics of the state's adult population.

To help Florida residents prepare for hurricane season, which began Monday, June 1, a sales tax holiday for storm preparation items like batteries, generators, coolers, and more is underway until Thursday, June 4.

A full list of hurricane items that qualify for the tax holiday is available here.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Copyright 2020 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit .

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.