Nova Scotia Power crews have restored service to more than 300,000 customers since the storm caused widespread power outages over the weekend, but five days later there are still tens of thousands in the dark.
“We lost power at nine o’clock (Friday), even before the storm started, and up to now, no power,” said Albert Zhouri, owner of La Piazza Ristorante in the city’s west end.
With no power, the restaurant has been forced to remain closed all week, running generators to protect as much food as possible.
“I couldn’t save all the food, I saved all the big inventory stuff I have in my freezer, most of it.”
Even with the generators, Zhouri still estimates he lost about $2,000 to $4,000 worth of food.
“It’s been very tiring mentally and physically, thinking about the store, thinking about the staff,” he said.
And it’s staff that he’s most concerned about. He says he has full faith his restaurant will be able to bounce back once they have power again, but a week without work is tough for staff members.
“They have family they have to support, so we’re going to do something for them,” said Zhouri.
It’s not just in the west end that restaurants have been impacted. The Burnside area also had lengthy outages.
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Bill Pratt is the owner of Chef Inspired Group of Restaurants, which operates 17 restaurants and food trucks in Halifax. Their main kitchen production centre is in Burnside where power was only restored Wednesday morning. He says the power outage lead to thousands of dollars in lost food.
“The produce and proteins are all garbage, we have to start fresh,” he said.
But rather than throw it all out, he says they did try to salvage as much food as possible, giving it away to staff and even hosting a dinner over the weekend at his place, which had power, for staff members who had lost power.
But food wasn’t their only loss. Pratt says losing a weekend of business at a time they’re already hurting was difficult.
“It’s already a critical stage right now, we’re already only operating a lot of our facilities five days a week because we don’t have staff, and when you shut down on a Friday and Saturday night, that’s critical for us,” Pratt said.
As of Wednesday the power was back on at all their facilities, including the Burnside main kitchen, and Pratt says now they’re just looking at moving forward.
Over in Halifax’s west end, Zhouri isn’t so lucky. As of Wednesday afternoon the estimated time of power restoration was Saturday night at 11 p.m.
Zhouri says it will be difficult to stay closed for the full week, but he says he’s lucky that he has power at home, knowing those who live near his restaurant aren’t as fortunate.
“I feel bad for the people in this neighborhood,” he said. “No power for six days, this is hard.”