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Scott Shalley: Stock up! Disaster Preparedness Tax-Free Holiday is here

Do you have your plan? Have you stocked up on the supplies you need?

Save on flashlights, radios, batteries, coolers and generators — everything you need for hurricane season! It’s not just a TV advertisement, it’s the law! The Florida Legislature passed this tax-saving measure, and the Governor signed it into law to create the Disaster Preparedness Tax-Free Holiday.

Hurricane season starts June 1, and if the forecasts are accurate, it’s going to be a very active season here in Florida. That’s nothing new — this is Florida. We’ve grown to expect hurricanes.

But COVID-19 has dominated our thoughts and actions for the last few months. After stocking up on hand sanitizer and toilet paper and hunkering down at home, many of us have lost track of time and aren’t thinking about potential upcoming disasters. Now Memorial Day has come and gone.

Are you prepared? Do you have your plan? Have you stocked up on the supplies you need? Now is the time, because you can stock up on tons of supplies May 29 through June 4 and pay no taxes on all your eligible purchases.

There are many items eligible for purchase tax-free, including:

— Portable self-powered light source selling for $20 or less;

— Certain portable radios selling for $50 or less;

— Tarps selling for $50 or less;

— Ground anchor systems or tie-down kits selling for $50 or less;

— A gas or diesel fuel tank selling for $25 or less;

— Packages of certain battery types, selling for $30 or less;

— A nonelectric food storage cooler selling for $30 or less;

— Portable generators for use in a power outage selling for $750 or less; and

— Reusable ice selling for $10 or less.

And I guarantee you that Florida retail stores are ready to help you get what you need. They are stocked up on supplies and staffed up to support. Many are offering additional savings on eligible items so you can buy more of what you need.

Importantly, Florida retail stores have implemented many measures to keep you safe while shopping for supplies. From installing barriers to offering contactless payment options, retail stores have taken the extra effort to help you keep your distance and stay healthy.

What’s more, many retailers continue to offer alternative methods to shopping in-store. Consider purchasing what you need from a Florida retailer with an online option or taking advantage of curbside and delivery services, where available.

When you stock up on hurricane supplies this weekend, be sure to find what you need right here in Florida. So many Florida businesses suffered loss of revenue during the state’s closure, and they were forced to lay off employees or close their doors for good. This is our chance to help our neighbors, pull the businesses back up on their feet and get Floridians back to work.

There are more than 270,000 retail stores across the Sunshine State. One in five jobs here is connected to Florida’s retail industry. When you support Florida retail, you’re helping a worker support his or her family. This hurricane season, support your family, and others around the state, by getting prepared.

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Scott Shalley is the president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation.

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