LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Businesses up and down U.S. 41 are shutdown because they simply can't function without gas to power up. State health inspectors checked in at establishments choosing to stay open, to ensure businesses are still following health codes.
"Last night, we basically just ran out of gas. At that point, you know the show must go on," Mark Lorenz, General Manager of Famous Dave's BBQ said Friday.
Famous Dave's is without gas to power up their kitchen. They're now plugging into portable smokers and grills in order to keep their doors open, and keep guests full.
"Things definitely aren't in place and in line like we'd like them, but we just pulled in some extra people and we got it going on," Lorenz said.
A total of 4,500 homes and businesses just in Lee County are still shutoff from gas power. Some entire shopping plazas of restaurants chose not open for business today due to a lack of hot water, and the gas power needed to dish out hot meals. At the First Watch on U.S. 41, the lunch crowd got an unpleasant surprise.
"I guess we're going to have to go someplace else! She's going to have to cook for me at the house," Sue Aho said as she and a friend tried to get lunch.
Restaurants choosing to temporarily shutdown operations say the choice didn't come easy. They're taking a serious hit to their wallets ever since the gas was cut..and still unsure of when they'll be able to get back to business.
"Started at about 6:30, we started to lose power to the gas. We noticed the grill starting to cool. Within 5 minutes we got an automated phone call from TECO, and just started basically shutting the restaurant down from there," Bahama Breeze Managing Chef Jack Beeson said Friday.
There are no reported cases of health code violations at any of the businesses choosing to stay open Friday. Hotels in Lee County are also taking a big hit. Many hotels have no hot water or laundry service right now. Some are offering discounts and free amenities to guests, others are choosing to stop taking reservations until the gas is back on.