COVER Activation for Potential Isaac Evacuees
The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism has activated the COVER program, due to potential evacuation of the Gulf Coast by Tropical Storm Isaac. COVER — Communication of Vacancies Emergency Response Plan – was created in response to the influx of evacuees into Arkansas following Hurricane Katrina. During that catastrophe, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 1.1 million people over the age of 16 were forced to evacuate their homes. Many of those who fled Louisiana and Mississippi came into Arkansas – and drove past available accommodations while searching out a place to stay. The result? Properties on major thoroughfares were packed while lodging operators located on secondary roads still had ample availability.
COVER was developed with these travelers in mind. In the case of a mass evacuation in any surrounding state, COVER is activated. Lodging managers are able to enter the rooms they have available into the website, and travelers can log on and find those rooms within a 160 mile radius of their location. These emergency visitors to Arkansas may also enter their email address or cell phone number and receive messages along their route with lodging updates.
Lodging industry members have already been contacted and advised to enter into COVER available vacancies at their properties. These numbers will be updated as rooms are taken.
To utilize COVER, go to www.arkansas.com/cover . Vacancies are organized by their distance to each entrance point into the state. For more information, check out the www.arkansas.com/COVER site. You can also sign up for COVER updates on Twitter @ArkCover or follow the hashtag #ArkCover.