As severe storms that produced tornadoes made its way through Boaz en route to DeKalb County, residents made their way to nearby storm shelters. Only, not all families were allowed inside.
One Crossville family, who would like to stay anonymous, not wanting to cause trouble in their small town, was denied entry because they didn’t have enough face masks, which is a recommendation to protect people from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recommendation is not a law. Each county and each city has make their own decisions. Some shelters are not open at all. Others are requiring a mask.
“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 one woman as she tried to enter the shelter in Crossville.
Left in the pouring down rain, with a tornado over Boaz, the family ran to their car.
“Actually twice trying to get somewhere, we nearly wrecked. I just wanted to squall all the way home. I had to keep it together you know?” said the woman.
WHNT inquired explained the situation to DeKalb County EMA. We were told the family probably should have been allowed in, given the incoming tornado. However, EMA offices do not get to make those decisions. The municipality makes and enforces the rules.
The woman claims the shelter was not full and she could have maintained 6-foot distance away from the other people in the shelter.
Crossville Mayor, Tera Fortenberry posted of Facebook, warning her community about the face-covering policy.
Part of the post read: “The storm shelter will OPEN Sunday April 12th at 11am— 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)”
The woman who was denied entry did not see the social media post. She does not use Facebook often. Which is a reminder, that people should check on their neighbors during this pandemic. Not everyone is getting the same rapid information. DeKalb County EMA agrees, check on your grandparents and elderly neighbors. Make sure they know the latest guidelines.
If you can’t make a mask, any face covering will do.
WHNT NEWS 19