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CONTACT: ESF 14, (850) 921-0384

Florida Retailers Reopening as Power Restoration Efforts
Continue Statewide

TALLAHASSEE – With power restoration efforts well underway following Hurricane Wilma, Florida retailers are reopening their doors in impacted counties throughout the state. Just four days following landfall, many major retail grocery stores are open to serve customers in South Florida. Publix, Winn-Dixie, Target, Kash and Karry and Wal-Mart reported that the large majority of retail outlets are open for groceries, home repair and household supplies in the disaster area.

“Power and open businesses are leading indicators of recovery following a major hurricane,” said Governor Jeb Bush. “Recovery is a long process but we are seeing improvements with every passing hour. Relief workers, power crews and emergency managers are working around the clock to help communities in South Florida recover and return to normal."

Since Hurricane Wilma made landfall in South Florida on October 24, close to 1.76 million customers have power restored. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) continues to coordinate with utility companies as they bring power back online to South Florida homes and businesses. Currently more than 9,400 Florida Power and Light personnel from 33 states are working around the clock to continue restoring power.

Restored power is also easing lines at retail gas stations. Working closely with members of the petroleum industry, DEP today reported that more than 185 million gallons of fuel was at Florida’s ports for distribution throughout the state. Fuel is being replenished based on regional priorities, with deliveries made first to emergency crews and first responders. Supplies are also being replenished at retail gas stations with available power along major transportation corridors and in metro areas for residents and to support evacuees returning to areas affected by the storm.

As major community retailers reopen and restock their shelves with groceries and supplies, Wilma Command is supporting more than 75 emergency Points of Distribution (PODs) sites with personnel and resources in 11 counties. State and federal supplies continue to flow through the distribution pipeline to support local emergency response efforts. Yesterday, 335 trucks of supplies – 139 trucks of water, 140 trucks of ice and 56 trucks of food – were shipped to PODs in impacted communities. Today’s first shipment wave of supplies included 267 trucks – 67 trucks of water, 145 trucks of ice and 55 trucks of food.

As resources flow to the impacted areas, Floridians are urged to visit open retail grocery stores, convenience stores and home repair stores whenever possible. Neighbors can help neighbors by reserving emergency state and federal resources for Florida’s most impacted and vulnerable residents. Patronizing local businesses also injects dollars into the local economy, accelerating recovery in the communities impacted by a major disaster.

For information regarding open Florida retailers selling groceries, gasoline and home repair supplies, please visit www.floridadisaster.org.

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Last updated: November 09, 2007

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