Hurricane Help & Information

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This page will be updated with key business community information, such as any reported business openings and closings, until the threat of Hurricane Irma has passed. If our area is evacuated, updates will cease and be resumed after the threat has passed and the evacuation is lifted.

If your business is changing its hours due to Hurricane Irma, let us know here.

Update 9/9 1:27 p.m.

Update: 9/7 8:48 p.m.

Governor Rick Scott has ordered all schools, universities and state offices closed on Friday and Monday to begin preparing for Hurricane Irma. Read the official news release here.

Update: 9/7 4:28 p.m.

  • The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) created an event in the Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center (FLVBEOC) for Hurricane Irma and are currently updating with up-to-date storm information, situation reports and resources for the business community. The state has also activated the Private Sector Hotline at 850-815-4925. The hotline is available for business inquiries about the storm, preparedness information and post-impact information.

Update: 9/7  2:51 p.m.

  • Read Gainesville Sun’s wrap up on the latest Irma developments here.

Update – September 7, 1:53 p.m. 

  • Emergency responders are asking that residents or businesses who need assistance call 3-1-1 for non-emergencies and reserve 9-1-1 for emergencies only.
  • UF closure information here.
  • Santa Fe College Closure information here
  • Pet Friendly Shelter Information: In preparation for Hurricane Irma, the Waldo Community School will be opened as a Pet Friendly Shelter on Friday, Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. The school is located at 14450 NE 148th Ave., Waldo, FL). More info here.


September 7, 9:29 a.m.

Mayor Lauren Poe yesterday declared a State of Emergency in the City of Gainesville, citing his confidence that Hurricane Irma “will impact our area in a very significant way.” The City is under a Level 2 Alert, and all agencies are working to ensure the city remains as safe as possible. Listen to the Mayor’s full comments here.

The Chamber highly encourages members to remain alert and up-to-date on all storm-related information as well as preparedness and response efforts. Staying in touch with the Chamber and monitoring official sources of information can help you stay informed and ensure that you have access to accurate, official information before and during Hurricane Irma, as well as after the threat has passed.

How to Stay in Touch with the Chamber

The Chamber will provide updates to and about the business community before, during and after the storm, except in the instance that our area is evacuated. If our area is evacuated, the Chamber will resume updates once the threat has passed and the evacuation is lifted.

  • Updates: Follow the Chamber on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.
  • Business Openings/Closings: At this time, we assume most businesses are operating during their normal hours. However, this may change in the coming days depending on weather conditions. If you decide to close your business until the threat has passed, or stay open outside of normal business hours because of the storm, please fill out this form.  We will create a list of open and closed businesses and update this list at least daily (more often as possible), and upload current versions to our website as long as electricity and technology allow.
  • Business Aid Tracker: When disasters strike, businesses mobilize their expertise, capabilities and community resources to assist with relief and recovery efforts. The Gainesville Chamber will serve as the keeper of record for the local business response to the disaster. If your business contributes to local relief and recovery, let us know by completing this form!

How to Find Official Information 

We strongly encourage our members to get familiar with the following sites.

  • – This site provides local information and guidance on disaster preparation and response activities. Under the “Get Connected” tab, you will find all of the social media hashtags and handles to receive information as it is disseminated by City government, law enforcement and first response agencies. Be sure to read this page well to get connected to official social media accounts and receive official updates.
  • Florida Chamber’s Hurricane Information Page – The Florida Chamber is on-site at the State Emergency Operations Center and maintains this page to help keep Florida residents, businesses and visitors safe and aware of the status of hurricanes threatening the state. Under the “Important Florida Hurricane Information” header, you will find real-time information about hurricanes that may impact or are impacting Florida.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center manages the National Disaster Help Desk (888-MY-BIZ-HELP / 888-692-4943) to respond to businesses seeking help, wishing to provide aid or providing an update on their efforts. The U.S. Chamber also provides a “Quick Guide” as well as general tips to help Small Businesses prepare for and respond to disasters. We recommend printing a copy of this Guide to have on hand.
  • Alachua County Public Schools – Find up-to-date information on school closures here. According to the site, parents will be notified of any impact on school operations through automated phone messages, emails, texts and the School Board’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Watch Out for Scams

Unfortunately, unscrupulous people and companies often use a disaster as an opportunity to take advantage of affected businesses and families when they are most vulnerable and in greatest need of assistance. We encourage members to stay informed and avoid scams. Watch the Florida Chamber’s short video to learn about a common scam called AOB, or “Assignment of Benefits.” Also, this article provides several tips to avoid being scammed.



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