Businesses assess Sandy's impact

 

Images of Hurricane Sandy's aftermath in Atlantic City, with its battered buildings and flooded streets, leave the impression that the city was all but destroyed. But the slot machines and poker tables inside the city's fabled casinos might be up and running again as soon as this week.

Caesars Entertainment, which owns four properties near the boardwalk, is waiting for a go-ahead from gambling regulators to reopen its casinos on Friday. Gary Thompson, a spokesman for Caesars, said that a few roofs needed to be fixed but that the damage from the storm was "relatively mild."

Two days after the hybrid superstorm tore through the Northeast, businesses from convenience stores to major banks were still making do, relying on generators for electricity and telling employees to continue working from home. For many, staying open has become a balancing act of preparation and improvisation.

During the height of Sandy, Mid-Atlantic convenience-store chain Wawa saw about 450 of its 602 stores shuttered — some because of power outages and some that the company closed preemptively. By Wednesday afternoon, only about 80 stores remained closed, mostly because of power outages and because workers couldn't reach some locations in New Jersey's barrier islands.

Wawa President Chris Gheysens said in an interview Wednesday that while the company has detailed plans to keep stores open through snowstorms and other harsh weather events, Sandy proved a unique challenge.

"What's new here is the breadth of this," Gheysens said of the storm's impact up and down the East Coast. "It's a bigger challenge than we've had to face in the past. This is a large-scale effort."

That effort meant putting some employees up in hotels so they wouldn't have to commute on dangerous roads and would be nearby when the time came to reopen. It meant keeping critical supply chains open for key products such as milk, eggs, bread and ice, and quickly restocking stores where power had gone out, leaving food to spoil. It meant making sure gas pumps kept running to provide fuel to residents and first responders.

It also meant keeping the lights on at stores in any way possible. Gheysens said Wednesday that the company had deployed a dozen generators to Wawa stores where power remained out. "We've cast a wide net looking for more generators," he said. "We're just struggling to find them."

Gheysens said the company will continue pushing to reopen and restock stores along the coast, in no small part because people in hard-hit communities have few places to go for essential items in the wake of the storm. "They clearly expect us to be there," he said.

Many airports in the Northeast were shut down earlier this week, with the storm causing more than 18,000 flights to be grounded. On Wednesday, flights resumed at two of New York's biggest airports, Newark Liberty and JFK International.

A FedEx plane was the first to land at Newark when the airport reopened Wednesday morning, said FedEx spokeswoman Shea Leordeanu. The company suspended service on Monday, but all of its planes were operating by Wednesday. Its ground operations were also back up, aside from deliveries and pickups in some areas still deemed unpassable by emergency officials.

"We're delivering where it's safe to do so," Leordeanu said.

Banks with offices in Lower Manhattan were still recovering Wednesday.

Citigroup said its New York office at 111 Wall St. "experienced severe flooding" and won't be usable for several weeks.

The global headquarters for American Express, also in Lower Manhattan, remained closed Wednesday for the third straight day. Spokeswoman Marina Norville said the company was taking its cues from the New York City government, which considers the area an unsafe flood zone.

Early estimates from research firm IHS Global Insight suggest that Sandy could cause economic losses of $30 billion to $50 billion.

As much as $20 billion could come from infrastructure damage from the massive storm, causing even more widespread flooding damages than last year's storm Irene, which also pummeled parts of the Eastern Seaboard, including New York.

The IHS report also noted that Sandy had forced the idling of about 70 percent of East Coast oil refineries, which could drive gasoline prices up in coming days. Some of the losses caused by Sandy likely will be offset by other facts, such as an increase in cleanup and reconstruction activity. But some of the losses — such as spending at restaurants that would have happened had there been no storm — never will be recovered, IHS said.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker