Family Not Wearing Face Covers Barred From Storm Shelter During Deadly Tornado

Coronavirus panic leaves family without safe haven during deadly storm

Image Credits: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

An Alabama family says they were blocked from entering a storm shelter as deadly tornadoes ripped through the area due to lack of face coverings.

During lethal storms on Easter Sunday that saw at least 25 tornadoes touch down across Alabama, a family from Crossville was allegedly not welcomed inside a safe haven over concerns they could spread coronavirus, WHNT reports.

“The guy actually opened the door, he motioned, do you have a mask? I held up my mask. I said I have one mask, I can put it on the child. He motioned no and shut the door,” said a woman representing the family, who asked to remain anonymous.

She says the family was forced to flee in their car during the severe storm.

“Actually twice trying to get somewhere, we nearly wrecked,” the woman said. “I just wanted to squall all the way home. I had to keep it together you know?”

The woman says the shelter was not full and could have accommodated her family while still allowing for a social distancing perimeter.

Crossville Mayor Tera Fortenberry reportedly informed constituents they would be obligated to wear face coverings in order to enter the shelter.

“The storm shelter will OPEN Sunday April 12th at 11am,” Mayor Fortenberry wrote in a Facebook post. “With the current COVID-19 Virus pandemic – Please try to remain calm and keep your distance as much as possible. YOU ARE ENTERING AT YOUR OWN RISK. Everyone has to wear a mask to be allowed to enter. (Homemade mask, medical masks or a bandana tied to cover your nose and mouth is acceptable).”

However, the woman who was denied entry said she does not use Facebook “often” and did not see the advisory.

Sunday’s storms killed over 30 people across the South and knocked out power to more than one million homes.



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