Some of the more than 100,000 South Jersey residents without power Sunday traveled to shore towns in search of a sea breeze — or even better, an air-conditioned restaurant or casino.
While residents in coastal areas lost power as a result of Saturday’s storm, many businesses remained open — some with the use of backup generators — bringing a welcome boost in business before the July 4 holiday. From Atlantic City’s casinos to restaurants and shops in Ocean City and Brigantine, many business owners appealed to residents on Facebook, letting them know that they were open for business.
Scales Grill & Deck Bar in Gardner’s Basin never lost power through the storms that brought wind gusts of 66 miles per hour to Atlantic City. The restaurant’s deck was open Sunday afternoon and more crowded than it would usually be on a Sunday, said Peter McDonald, the restaurant’s general manager.
“We’re getting a lot of calls from people before they come. They’re sitting at home in the dark, so they think we are, too,” McDonald said. “Tables are packed. We’re doing great.”
Among those who fled the mainland were Linda and Ray Thomas, of Egg Harbor Township, who lost power early Saturday morning. The couple said they tried to wait out the outage, but by Sunday they decided they needed to escape to the shore for some relief. The pair ended up at Tropicana Casino and Resort and planned to play the slot machines.
“We’re just trying to beat the heat,” Linda Thomas said.
Other local businesses attempted to catch the attention of couples such as the Thomases with Facebook postings. Resorts Casino Hotel posted that there were plenty of fun, cool things to do at the casino. Revel promoted its spa on Facebook, inviting people without power to purchase a day pass, which would provide full access to their showers, sauna and steam room.
Yet not all businesses were immune to problems in the storm’s aftermath. The posh Chelsea hotel on Chelsea Avenue in Atlantic City lost power about 2:45 a.m. Saturday. A message on the hotel’s website and Facebook page directed guests with reservations for Saturday or Sunday nights to call a number to reschedule their reservations.
Both the website and Facebook page stated that guests were alerted about the situation via email or phone calls, but on Sunday afternoon about a dozen guests arrived at the hotel within a half-hour span, wondering why the doors were locked. No signs at the hotel explained the power outage.
One couple from New York City arrived at the hotel by taxi to find it was closed. The couple was unaware of Saturday’s thunderstorms and said they had not been notified of the hotel’s closing.
A message on the hotel’s website Sunday night said it would reopen for business at 2 p.m. today. Messages left for hotel management were not immediately returned Sunday.
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