Most Atlantic City businesses remain shuttered this morning as mandatory evacuation orders remain in effect following the storm that originated as Hurricane Sandy.

Traffic picked up on the Atlantic City Expressway, but access remains limited to essential personnel east the Pleasantville toll plaza five miles outside the city as access to all barrier islands in Atlantic County still is prohibited.

All vehicles that are making their way through the last five miles eastbound are under escort or are emergency vehicles, said Kevin Rehmann, spokesman for the South Jersey Transportation Authority.

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Casino gambling stopped at 3 p.m. Sunday, but local properties started clearing out guests and turning away new patrons at noon that day.

City officials have said they can't predict when the resort will reopen, but that it depends on how efforts to restore power progress and when the state lifts the mandatory evacuation in place since 4 p.m. Sunday.

Before the storm, however, they said it would happen sometime Thursday.

That still is a likely scenario, according to

Atlantic City Jitney Association President Tom Woodruff.

The Walk Outlets didn't open at all Sunday. A couple restaurants kept their doors open, but those establishments have agreements with city police and fire officials to keep operating during emergencies so they can feed first responders handling the event.

Atlantic City Electric crews have been working steadily since early yesterday to restore power. Since then, many traffic lights have come back on, but plenty are still dark or blinking this morning.

Electricity service remains extremely limited in most residential areas of the city. Some people say they're approaching their third day without power.

External damage has been limited, but a dilapidated section of the Boardwalk slated for demolition along the Absecon Inlet was almost entirely removed by the storm. The 3.75 miles along the ocean, however, remained intact behind the protection of dunes and recently replenished beaches.

Residents living in low-lying areas likely will return to water damage inside their homes, as flooding rose to 8 feet in some places during the storm.

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