States Are Preparing for the 2024 Eclipse

Joe Lackey, president of the Indiana Grocery and Convenience Store Association, talks about how c-stores should prepare for the event.

November 16, 2023

A total solar eclipse will span parts of North America on April 8, 2024, beginning in Mexico and finishing in Canada. This will be the first total solar eclipse since 2017 and the last one to cross the Unites States until 2044. In addition, the 2024 eclipse will have a longer totality than the 2017 event, with more than a minute of additional darkness.

States in and around the path of totality should prepare for a surge in traffic surrounding the day of the eclipse.

Joe Lackey, the president of the Indiana Grocery and Convenience Store Association, is already preparing for the eclipse next April. He’s been in contact with his c-stores, grocery stores and wholesale distributors urging them to get ready for the eclipse. He says stores should stock up on food, fuel and staff for the day of the eclipse.

“While the exact number is still unknown, it’s predicted that somewhere in the vicinity of 500,000 to a million people may show up,” in Indiana alone, Lackey told NACS Daily.

He added, “There’s a lot of population centers in Indiana that the eclipse is going over. It’s going over Vincennes and Evansville, it’s going to go right over Indiana University and it’s almost over the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. And then we don’t know how many people are just going to be day-trippers that are going to come over from Chicago, Louisville, Columbus or St. Louis.” Other highly impacted states include Texas, Arkansas, Illinois and Ohio.

The path of totality will pass over much of Indiana, moving from the southwest to the northeast. The time spent in totality will vary from less than a minute to a little over four minutes depending on the location within the path. For example, Crawfordsville, Indiana, is expected to experience one minute and six seconds of totality, while Vincennes, Indiana might experience four minutes and five seconds. Indianapolis is predicted to experience about three minutes and 49 seconds of totality.

“C-stores are going to need to make plans for it,” Lackey told NACS Daily. “Plan your personnel, because you’re going to need them for the event. You should also anticipate that some personnel aren’t going to want to work that day—they’re going to want to see the eclipse, too.”

In order to view the eclipse, people need special eyewear that meet a worldwide safety standard. C-stores should reach out to their suppliers and distributors, Lackey noted.

View a NASA map of the 2024 total solar eclipse here.