South Mississippi business prepares for Florida evacuees

South Mississippi business prepares for Florida evacuees

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Those wanting to make a reservation to stay for the weekend here on the Gulf Coast, should go ahead and book it. Accommodations are filling up all along the coast as Florida residents try to get away from Hurricane Irma.

Much of the state of Florida is being urged to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma's potential landfall there; which means a busy weekend for the hospitality industry in South Mississippi.

"Yeah, they could be staying indefinitely. It depends. Some of them said they might have to just stay for three or four nights and some of them don't know," said Charity Devore at Majestic Oaks RV Resort.

Hotel industry officials are also staying busy, like Linda Hornsby the director of the Mississippi Hotel Motel Lodging Association.

"It started late yesterday afternoon and this morning it's been a great increase. I've checked with some of the hotels and they're experiencing the same thing," said Hornsby.

Several evacuees hit the road early and are already in south Mississippi checking in.

"We got out of there yesterday morning. We ain't going back home. Not until this is over," said John Maitland.

Maitland lives right in the projected path of Hurricane Irma's potential landfall north of Tampa. He and his wife didn't want to take a chance, so they stopped at the Super Eight in Biloxi.

The motel's manager, Sal Nazarali says his rooms are filling up fast and he. Like many other hotels and motels across the Coast, Nazarali has waived his no pet policy to accommodate incoming evacuees.

"I'm sure if it was the other way around we would be looking to go somewhere else and stay, so I think we are just helping these people and hoping it won't be as bad as what's predicted," said Nazarali.

Lodging officials say there are still plenty of rooms available, but they're booking up fast.

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