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Austin’s Ice Storm Costs Business Owners Tens of Thousands of Dollars

AUSTIN (KXAN) — After nearly a week without power, Daylon Garcia was finally able to turn on the lights at Curra’s Hyde Park Tuesday afternoon.

“It was a big joy and then, ‘Okay, we have a lot of work to do now,'” she said.

He said he realized last Wednesday that they lost power.

“From that point on, it’s basically a, you know, countdown of how long you have before, things get really bad,” Garcia said.

And it didn’t take long for things to get really bad. By the weekend, Garcia said they were throwing away thousands of dollars worth of spoiled food.

He said they lost tens of thousands of dollars during the week through bad food and lost income.

“One night of an ice storm and then we’re closed for a week and nobody has answers,” Garcia said. “A kind of feeling almost like a sense of abandonment and helplessness.”

Star of Texas Veterinary Hospital began bringing patients back Tuesday after also losing power about a week ago.

“Sending people home, having doctors do telehealth visits over the phone just to assess whether we need to refer patients to another hospital,” explained Nova Servatious, a customer care specialist at the hospital.

He said patients and staff were inside when the facility was blacked out.

The facility usually has 75-85 appointments per day and was closed for 4 1/2 days due to the blackout.

“So at that point, we had to really shuffle and come together and figure out which emergency hospitals had the power so that we could triage and send patients there if needed,” Servatious said.

Hospital administrators estimate he lost between $60 and $75,000 for the week.

They are still looking at an appointment backlog for routine appointments like wellness checkups and vaccines.

“We have been able to successfully reschedule these appointments or make telehealth appointments whenever possible thanks to the hard work, ingenuity and collaboration of our entire team,” said Hospital Administrator Dana Wile.

Garcia said it was a moment of relief to be able to turn the lights back on, but her customers will still be offline until Thursday.

“Now the process of making all that food and catching up on all of our favorite menu items begins,” she said.

Another shock for the 30-year-old family business after COVID-19 and the February 2021 storm.

“It’s just, you know, a punch in the gut,” Garcia said. “Looking into next year: what if it happens again? What if it happens a year later? How many days, how many weeks are we going to lose… business because a power outage or a tree falls on a line, and then no one is around to fix it and the city won’t give you answers?

“It seems like the blame moves from person to person and from year to year, it’s someone else’s fault, but there never seems to be any change,” she added.

The Garcia family set up a Go Fund Me page to help reimburse Curra’s roughly two dozen Hyde Park employees who were unable to work.

The goal is set at $5,000, and the family has said they will match that amount.

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