For some reason, its been going around about where to seek shelter if you are caught outside during severe weather. Since certain businesses have been mentioned as good places to get into during severe weather, it has morphed into businesses are required to take you in. This is a misconception that needs to end and can turn into a crowd-with-lit-pitchforks mentality.

Severe Weather in East Texas

We know all to well how quickly, and harshly, the weather can change in East Texas. We know the dangers of a tornado warning being issued. We've seen it all too many times how tragic or destructive our severe weather can be.

I've seen local news weathermen post spots you can go to seek shelter in the event of severe weather in East Texas. That's great and all but I've also seen complaints online about how a business didn't let them in because they had already sheltered in place. I don't recall any law or city ordinance that requires a business to provide shelter during severe weather.

Business Plan for Severe Weather

That doesn't mean that a business doesn't have a plan for severe weather. I remember 20 plus years ago when I worked at Burger King in the Westwood Shopping Center of actually going through severe weather drills. If there were customers in the dining room, we were to gather them, along with the employees, and head to the cooler for shelter. No where in that plan did it say for someone to remain in the lobby to let people in.

Yes, that was over 20 years ago but I seriously doubt a plan similar to that has changed much at all.

During a storm a couple of years ago, my fiancé was in Walmart in Lindale. The storm got severe enough outside to knock the power out. The employees of Walmart made sure all the customers that were inside the building remained safe while at the same time not letting anyone into the building.

Why wouldn't they let anyone into the store if the weather was severe outside?

For exactly that reason, the weather was severe outside. By opening the doors and letting someone in, that will create a danger for those sheltered inside. It's the same thing if you opened the doors to your home.

Here's the thing to remember; sure, its neighborly and the "nice and kind thing to do" to give someone shelter during a storm. But it's also dangerous and in no way a requirement for a business to let you in. I know our local news stations have said that a business with a big, sturdy building is a good place to go, and they're right, just don't don't assume that the business is required to let you in, because, frankly, they are not.

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