HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The Horry County Emergency Management Department announced Friday afternoon that it has moved to OPCON 2 level.
The elevated level means the county is operating in a heightened state of awareness and emergency plans with begin to be implemented.
Horry County emergency leaders have also started discussing plans with South Carolina Emergency Management and local municipalities and will monitor the storm closely.
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The Horry County Emergency Operations Center is not currently activated, but if it does, it will look a little different than in years past due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Usually, there are close to 80 people at the operations center during a hurricane, but Horry County Emergency Management spokesperson Thomas Bell said that number will be cut in half.
“This year, we’re really going to keep it below 40, just the kind of key emergency support function folks who will have access to that operations center. And that is strictly just to keep it running and to make sure that we can limit the exposure to COVID-19 as much as possible,” Bell said.
Bell added that they’re encouraging the community to also take precautions for both the hurricane and pandemic.
“With COVID-19, things are different. Things are going to be a bit more difficult to make sure residents have personal protective equipment in their emergency kits,” Bell said.
Should the Emergency Operations Center activate, the Emergency Phone Bank will also activate at that time.