Businesses around exit 29 of Interstate 95 were given the OK to open again Wednesday after a precautionary boil water advisory led the Georgia Department of Public Health to shut down restaurants in the area.
Starting Monday at 2:30 p.m., the health department began shutting down restaurants in the south mainland around exit 29, said Sally Silbermann, Coastal Health District spokeswoman. More than a dozen restaurants in the area still had signs on their doors and windows on Wednesday morning explaining why they were closed.
On Tuesday, the department made another sweep of the area and shut down some stores that had reopened, said Matthew Manning, general manager of Domino’s Pizza in the Hyde Park Commons shopping center.
The Domino’s Pizza and Larry’s Giant Subs, both in Hyde Park Commons, lost more than a day’s worth of customers. Larry’s shut down in the afternoon on Monday, according to a man affiliated with the restaurant who asked not to be named.
Manning said when customers called, he had to turn them away. At Larry’s, more than 10 people were turned away within a 15 minute span at around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, just the beginning of the restaurant’s regular lunch period.
“We’ve just got to tell them we’re under a boil water advisory,” Manning said.
Some customers are used to hearing it at this point. Manning said many who call aren’t surprised, either because they’ve already heard about the advisory or have seen other restaurants closed in the area.
Almost a full day without any business hurt sales, Manning said. If it hurt Domino’s, it likely hurt the rest of the restaurants in the exit 29 area, he added.
“They pretty well shut us all down,” Manning said. “It pretty much put our entire area to a stop.”
“It’s not OK,” Manning added.
Around 900 JWSC customers are served in the south mainland district, including two schools. Satilla Marsh Elementary School and Risley Middle School covered their water fountains and boiled water before use in their cafeterias while the advisory was in effect, according to Jim Weidhaas, Glynn County Board of Education spokesman.
The advisory was lifted at 3:05 p.m. on Wednesday.
The problem started when a main water line along Ga. Highway 303 cracked, causing a drop in water pressure. Low water pressure can allow disease-causing organism into the water system, which is why the utility puts out precautionary advisories.
Work crews were on the scene at around 10 a.m., and had the pipe patched up around 2:30 p.m. Monday. Following federal guidelines, water from the system was sent off to be tested to make sure it was not contaminated.
Once a precautionary advisory is announced, it can’t be lifted until the tests are complete, which took around 48 hours.