Hospitality industry rises to Paulette challenge
Hotels and restaurants have rallied to help people hit by power cuts in the wake of Hurricane Paulette.
The Pompano Beach Club opened its doors to the public before the storm hit and a string of restaurants opened on Tuesday to help feed people left without power after the storm.
Larry Lamb, the co-owner of Pompano Beach Club, said that about 50 people made last-minute reservations at the Southampton beach club on Sunday and early Monday morning.
He said: “We assumed most of them left because they didn't have power at their homes.”
Mr Lamb added: “I think they were fairly busy, the ones that were here — I'm assuming that they probably chilled out in their rooms and watched TV.
“I think they were thrilled to be anywhere that had air conditioning and power.”
Mr Lamb said the guests got full beach club services, including three meals a day and use of an indoor pool.
The beach club's own generator kicked in to provide power during the hurricane.
The club always has key staff members who stay in the clubhouse during a storm, which makes them ready to deal with guests.
Mr Lamb said that staff helped with maintenance once a storm had passed and stayed at the club if they had lost power at home.
He added: “I still have some staff members who, because of power outages, are still staying here and will stay here until their power comes back on.
“We're kind of a family here — we all look after each other.”
Edwin D'Melo, the manager of Gulfstream Restaurant in Warwick, said that the restaurant would open at lunchtimes during the week.
It is usually closed at lunchtime from Monday to Thursday, but the owner decided to open their doors at noon to give people without power the chance to have a hot meal.
Mr D'Melo said: “People love our food — some people were calling me just after the storm and asked: ‘Are you guys open?'
“I always said ‘no, but we're trying to open for you guys soon'.”
Mr D'Melo said that the restaurant still offered food for delivery through the Sargasso Sea app in case people did not want to leave their homes.
He added: “We're just want to brighten people's day and make them happy.”
Luca Mezzapena, the general manager of Bone Fish Bar and Grill in Dockyard, said it reopened on Tuesday because staff wanted to restart operations as early as possible so they could brighten people's day.
He added: “Somerset is usually the first to lose power during a hurricane, so we always try to open early so we can give service to those who might not have lights.
“It looks like everybody has power — Belco did a good job — but we still want to just make people's day a little brighter.”
Mr Mezzapena said the restaurant had in the past donated trays of food to people after a hurricane.
It was not needed after Paulette, but they were prepared to do it again if required.
He added: “We want to help the community as much as we can because we care about the people and we want to look after those who live here.”
Rick Olson, the owner of the Bermuda Bistro at the Beach on Front Street, said the restaurant would offer several specials over this week, including $10 lunch specials and family meals.
Mr Olson added that the business had ran specials during the summer to help make up for the loss of business caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The aftermath of Paulette had encouraged him to create more deals. Mr Olson said: “The whole concept is to get people out of their homes.
“We've seen a huge increase in takeout and delivery items over the last several months, but we're trying to encourage people to come and dine out.”
“Hopefully, that gets the spirits lifted by having people get out and socialise as opposed to staying home.”