June 2020

Page 9


From Curves to Cones: Hurricane Season in the COVID-19 World June has finally arrived in the Sunshine State, bringing a familiar foe to all Floridians: hurricane season. According to forecasters, we’re in for an active year, with several trusted models predicting an above average season. (Don’t shoot the messenger, but something along the lines of 18-22 named storms… YIKES!) The return of hurricane season also brings back our friend the “cone of uncertainty,” a tool meant to provide a best guess on a charging storm’s projected path. We can debate the accuracy of this forecasting aid, but it’s something we are all familiar with and equipped to respond to in our own way. The 2020 hurricane season, much like 2020 itself, promises to be anything but familiar. When a storm inevitably starts churning our way this year, it is the COVID-19 curve, not just the cone, that will be on emergency management officials’ minds. In the age of COVID, Florida is having to completely rethink its strategy for hurricane response. For instance, the state will be stockpiling personal protective equipment (PPE) this year in addition to the staples of water, gasoline and MREs, with more than 10 million face masks expected to be in state reserves by June 1. Handling people in a hurricane emergency will also be a challenging new frontier with COVID-19 threats looming. A top concern is how the state’s emergency shelters can be utilized to protect citizens while also maintaining social distancing standards to prevent transmission of the virus. New protocols could range

from separating people in the shelter based on temperature checks to non-congregated sheltering in hotels. Evacuations themselves will also be viewed differently this year, in part to address for space limitations with the implementation of these new shelter protocols. Officials are hinting that people in structures (outside of flood zones) built to newer codes and standards may be asked to shelter in place rather than evacuate. State officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are in constant communication and daily planning to tackle these new contingencies. COVID-19 is certain to play a leading role for officials when a hurricane starts to bare down our way, and it will be even more critical to follow local and state directives as we adjust to a “new normal” for hurricane response. Ironically, in this time when our lives are continuously shaped by efforts to “flatten the curve,” our old friend the cone of uncertainty may just provide an unintended benefit: normalcy. Stay safe – and healthy – this hurricane season. FRM

Getting Paid, continued from page 6

Aside from the above, always consider your lien and bond rights and keep close tabs on the time requirements for perfecting these claims. In most scenarios, you do not have a huge window of time to comply with these requirements. Therefore, let your attorney know at the earliest opportunity that you are experiencing a slow or no-pay. Remember that lien/bond claims take time to prepare and typically require a thorough analysis before they can be completed and served or recorded in the county records. Given the closure of many county’s clerks and skeleton staff crews, recording may take longer than normal. In sum, attention to detail and forethought are going to be the keys to success as we move through this time. Do your homework. Know who you are dealing with. Make sure they have the money set aside to pay you. If they resist providing this information, be cognizant of the fact that you may have an issue with payment down the line. Have sales and finance teams work in tandem at the beginning, not when slow or 8


no-pay starts to happen. There is light at the end of the tunnel. We are starting to see it. But be vigilant. We will get through this.


Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. Brian Lambert is Board Certified in Construction Law by the Florida Bar and devotes his practice to all facets of construction. Cotney Construction Law is an advocate for the roofing industry, General Counsel of FRSA and a Florida Bar Board Certified Construction Lawyer. For more information, contact the author at 866-303-5868 or go to www.cotneycl.com.