Pinellas beach resorts are taking note of the unusual reaction of delegates to next week's Republican National Convention, as Tropical Storm Isaac tracks toward Tampa.
Normally, a track like Isaac's would bring lots of inquisitive phone calls and cancellations. But Russ Kimball of the Sheraton Sand Key told FOX 13 News that hasn't been the case -- they haven't had any calls come in yet.
He says the Sheraton's RNC guests are from Oregon and Illinois.
"The phone calls we've gotten over the last few weeks are the people asking for special requests or whatever," Kimball said "(They) are all so optimistic that they're coming to our beaches. They're just looking forward to it."
The general managers of the Bilmar on Treasure Island and the TradeWinds on St. Pete Beach made nearly identical observations.
Keith Overton of the TradeWinds pointed out delegates pay for their own travel expenses and state parties pay for any gatherings such as breakfasts or lunches. All would be subject to any cancellation penalties unless a state of emergency is declared, in which case such charges are forbidden under Florida law.
In the meantime, Pinellas municipalities have started going through pre-storm preparations. For example, Clearwater's emergency manager Rick Carnley said city vehicles were getting ready.
"One of the things that will happen tomorrow is all of the city vehicles will be filled by the end of the business day by the employees that are operating them," Carnley said.
A hurricane planning meeting is also scheduled for Friday.
"We talk about standby people, who we call in when, how we are going to move, just try to lay out some plans in the event we've got to do something over the weekend," Carnley explained.
Then he pointed out another RNC-related anomaly: all local emergency operations centers already plan to activate Sunday before a giant welcome event at Tropicana Field.
Pinellas County spokesman Tom Iovino confirmed
"We're going to be monitoring the situation as it happens, and as things unfold in Tampa with the convention. But since we're here, we're also going to be keeping an eye on the tropics as well," Pinellas County spokesman Tom Iovino confirmed.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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