In a sign that Florida is regaining a semblance of normalcy in the wake of Hurricane Irma, curfews on Tuesday were lifted in Miami-Dade County.
Irma’s negative impacts on retail were estimated by Planalytics to be $2.8 billion. Hurricane Irma’s impact on the economy is still being calculated.
Hurricane Harvey’s impact continues to grow, according to Ball State University economist Michael Hicks, who estimated Harvey’s impact to the economy at $198 billion, with homes and businesses still under water.
Following widespread outages from Irma, with about 6.6 million homes losing power due to sustained winds of up to 130 miles per hour, and storm surges of up to 20 feet in parts of the state, Miami on Tuesday was cleaning up, assessing the damage and getting ready to open for business.
Swire Properties Inc. president Kieran Bowers said Brickell City Centre didn’t suffer any structural damage and maintained electricity throughout the hurricane.
“Select Brickell City Centre stores will open on Wednesday,” he said. “The longer we remain closed, the longer our suppliers, retail assistants and hourly staff are prevented from the opportunity to work.”
The recovery is “going to be area-specific,” Bowers said. “Areas that were badly affected will take a long time for the communities to recover. Flights and conferences have been canceled, but that’s a perception issue. Sure, parts of South Miami were badly hit. Brickell was under water, after being hit by a storm surge, but that evaporated. When people realize a lot of Miami is up and running, they’ll come out. Fort Lauderdale was harder hit.”
Out of more than 400 stores in the region, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Tuesday listed 75 stores as “recovering.” “This simply means that associates are in the stores prepping to open to the public, but the stores aren’t quite ready. Stores will begin to open over the coming days, as quickly and safely as possible,” said a Wal-Mart spokesman.
“Now that most curfews have been lifted and people are starting to get around, recovery mode is well under way following Hurricane Irma,” a Wal-Mart spokesman said. “Getting [stores] up and running as quickly as possible is something our associates take seriously. With Irma downgraded to a tropical storm, our Emergency Operations Center is tracking rainfall as it heads into Georgia, while continuing to offer 24-hour support to our associates in the field. With mandatory evacuations under way across Florida, we have the same support systems we used in Texas in place to help our people in evacuation zones get to a place of safety.”
Bal Harbour Shops in Bal Harbour closed when the evacuation order was given and returned to begin repairs and clean when it was lifted Tuesday. “We’ll open to customers on Wednesday, but some individual stores may not open for their own reasons, a decision their headquarter offices will make. We had no damage to building structures except awnings and a few exterior glass doors by elevator landings. Everything else was landscaping and signage.”
“We’re focused on ensuring our associates in the impacted area are safe,” said a spokeswoman for Hudson’s Bay Co., parent of Saks Fifth Avenue. “We reopened 12 stores across our banners today and will continue to reopen stores as conditions allow.” The company operates Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off 5th and Lord & Taylor stores in the impacted area.
“Our centers were minimally impacted with only light external signage and landscaping damage,” said a spokeswoman for Taubman Centers. The Mall of San Juan reopened on Saturday, and the company’s other centers, including Dolphin Mall in Miami, International Plaza in Tampa, and the Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota, reopened Tuesday.