Floridians flock to Newton County to escape Irma
As Hurricane Irma continues barreling toward the Florida coast at speeds in excess of 180 MPH, parking lots at Covington hotels have begun to fill with cars with Florida tags as Floridians seek to escape the storm’s wrath.
Juan, from Naples on the southwest coast of the sunshine state, said he and his family were on the road for 23 hours before arriving at the LaQuinta Inn and Suites on the Access Road.
“We left at 6 yesterday (Thursday) morning and got here at 3 this morning,” he said.
Hotel General Manager Leana White said her hotel is sold out Friday, Saturday and Sunday. She said they were prepared for this year’s storm after Hurricane Matthew last year.
“Once the Florida governor declared a State of Emergency, we started putting our hurricane plan into effect,” she said.
White said the hotel’s hurricane plan includes ordering extra food and bringing on additional staff to handle extra hotel guests.
At the Holiday Inn Express on Paras Drive, General Manager Ray Patel said people have been driving all night to get to his hotel. Patel said the Holiday Inn is allowing pets with no fee and cancellations are open with no restrictions during the evacuation.
At the Hampton Inn on Lochridge Boulevard, employee Steve Martin said the hotel is sold out through Tuesday with guests from Florida and Savannah. He said the chain’s Conyers hotel is also sold out.
Darryl Welch | The Covington News Juan evacuated Florida and found himself at the LaQuinta Inn and Suites in Covington.