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DeSantis starts hurricane tax holiday at Boca Home Depot, announces new walk-up test sites

Home Depot and Publix will host three walk-up COVID-19 testing sites each, with locations still to be determined. There are 16 current sites across Florida.

BOCA RATON — Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday reminded Floridians that ahead of hurricane season, now is the time to start preparing for a potential storm.

“We want all Floridians to be prepared ... let’s prepare for the worst but hope for the best when it comes to hurricane season,” he said at a Friday press conference at a Home Depot in Boca Raton.

DeSantis kicked off the press conference with a special thanks to Floridian and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, a notable Donald Trump donor and supporter.

Friday marks the start of a sales tax holiday, where shoppers in Florida can avoid paying sales taxes on hurricane preparation supplies ahead of the 2020 season, which begins June 1.

The 2020 disaster preparedness holiday was passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by DeSantis in March as part of a $47.7 million tax package.

The sales tax holiday extends through Thursday, June 4.

A third named storm could form out at sea before hurricane season officially starts

During this period, shoppers can avoid taxes on items like flashlights and lanterns under $20, gas and diesel fuel containers under $25, coolers and batteries under $30 and radios and tarps under $50.

Also included in the holiday are bigger ticket items like portable generators that cost $750 or less.

The tax package also includes a three-day back-to-school tax holiday on school supplies and clothes, which begins August 7 and ends August 9.

More COVID testing

DeSantis Friday also announced that Home Depot and Publix will host three walk-up COVID-19 testing sites each, with locations still to be determined. The Boca Raton Home Depot will have a testing site located in its parking lot.

The sites will join 16 other walk-up sites across the state.

“We want it to be do as convenient as possible for people,” DeSantis said.

Storm watching

According to the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center in Miami, forecasters are watching a storm developing over the central Atlantic Ocean southeast of Bermuda, which is producing a large area of showers and thunderstorms and gusty winds.

Forecasters predict a subtropical depression could form Friday night or Saturday as it moves northward

Florida Department of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz, who also attended the press conference, noted that this may be the first time Florida has had operated its emergency operations at a “level one” even before going into hurricane season.

He said he has sectioned off his staff into separate COVID-19 and hurricane response areas, and that preparedness precautions are in full effect.

“There’s no one who hopes we don’t have a hurricane more than me,” he said. “But we’ll be ready.”

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