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The Economics of Irma

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Sail boat washed ashore on Key Biscayne days after Hurricane Irma. (Photo: Xav Solo)

Aside from the downed trees and loss of power and Internet services the greatest impact of this storm has been an economic one.

For most of us that operate our own businesses, hurricane prep started on the heels of Labor Day weekend, with only one day of real productivity during the week before storm prep consumed us. Between filling our tanks, stocking up on water and food supplies, and preparing our homes for a potentially devastating storm, the South Florida economy lost nearly $90 billion to this storm, and we’re still barely getting back to normal.

Source’s say the recovery costs alone will amount to nearly $46 billion dollars, not including what business have lost in the time during the storm.

In a conversation I had while waiting to order pizza at one of the few restaurants open after the storm, I had another business owner tell me that his business had been losing $6000-$8000 per day that they had been closed Wednesday Sept. 06, 2017 and still hadn’t reopen.

Over a week of lost revenue, nearing $50k for this one business owner, and his bills don’t stop. He still has to pay his employees and other operational costs.

Even as this article was written, we were still without Internet, and the neighboring building across the street was still without power. After Hurricane Wilma, Comcast took 30+ days to return normal TV, telephone, and Internet services.

Ultimately, resilience in the face of these storms isn’t only our capability to survive the storm, clear debris, and restore power, but how well our businesses fare in the days and weeks after the storm. Many people lost a lot to this storm, and now that life has finally returned to an acceptable level of normalcy, with Internet and merchant services returned, we will prove how resilient we really are.

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