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Puerto Rico businesses still struggling two months after hurrica - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Puerto Rico businesses still struggling two months after hurricane Maria

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Santurce, Puerto Rico -

Driving around Puerto Rico, you can see businesses in Santurce, flooded and destroyed. The roof blown off and walls saved in. The ones that survived, weren’t prepared to go without electricity for nearly two months.

Cocina Abierta is one of thousands of restaurants in Puerto Rico operating on a generator.

You can hear the humming sound on almost any busy street.  With no power, it's the only way to keep businesses open. 

"It's been a lot of work, definitely. A lot of struggle to keep open, to keep operating,” Barbie Ruiz, general operations manager of Cocina Abierta said.

And in those two months, only two out of the company's seven restaurants are back open.

"I didn't think it would be more than a month without power, and it's been almost two months, yeah,” Ruiz said.

Add to that more than $400 in diesel every few days, the price to keep the generator running.

But Ruiz says there's a much bigger cost. She had let go of more than 50 employees.

"We had to let go of a lot of people since we couldn't reopen. That's definitely the hardest part; to be able to close doors on people and leave them jobless,” Ruiz said.

The owner of this Carnicera lived through several hurricanes on the island but says nothing compares to hurricane Maria. When the storm hit, everything in his cooler went bad, his power just got restored.

Ruiz says you can't really prepare for a monster like Maria but thinks Hawaii can learn from his struggle.

See the interior of the island, where people need the most help, tomorrow night on Island News. 

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