In preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac’s trek through the Caribbean, News is my Business has rounded up some of the most significant announcements issued Wednesday on cancellations and other weather-related changes.
The air carriers serving Puerto Rico pretty much flew their regular schedules Wednesday, except for certain flights to the Eastern Caribbean, which were canceled ahead of the storm.
American Airlines, through its regional carrier American Eagle, announced it would be waiving fees on changes by passengers who were supposed to travel to Antigua, Dominica, Martinique, Guadaloupe, St. Maarten, St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Thomas or Tortola from Aug. 22-25. Affected passengers have until Aug. 28 to head back to their destinations, the carrier said.
Furthermore, American Airlines also suggested that passengers check the status of their flights prior to heading to the airport at www.aa.com.
Carriers Copa and United/Continental kept their schedules intact Wednesday, and had yet to announce changes or cancellations for today. While Copa operates three daily flights out of San Juan, United/Continental offers five flights out of Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport and another out of the Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla. For more information on the carriers visit: www.copaair.com and www.united.com.
While demand for gasoline spiked and talks began of a possible shortage as Puerto Rico residents scurried to prepared for the storm, fuel suppliers and the government confirmed the island has a two-week supply available.
Puma Energy, which runs a wholesale operation and 115 gasoline stations islandwide, said it has enough inventory to supply the demand of all its customers.
“The operations of the island’s leading gasoline distributor will remain in effect until weather conditions permit it due to the potential impact Tropical Storm Isaac could have on the island,” said Puma Energy General Manager Víctor Domínguez. “We will let our consumers know of any news once the storm has passed.”
Meanwhile, Texaco’s district manager of sales, José Luis Faure, also confirmed the chain had enough to meet the demand for gasoline and diesel fuel.
“Now that we’re in an emergency situation, we have been supplying our retailers at Texaco service stations and industrial customers, and will continue as weather conditions permit,” he said.
Texaco operates 184 service stations islandwide and will soon become part of Puma Energy, which closed its acquisition of the company last month.
The island’s major banks will not open any of their branches Thursday, although ATM machines will be up and running as long as there is power available. Customers are advised to call or go online for further information about each bank.
- Popular: (787) 724-3650 or 1-888-724-3650, or www.popular.com UPDATE: Bank officials announced the opening of the following branches from noon to 4 p.m. today: Plaza Carolina, Plaza las Américas, Montehiedra Town Center, San Patricio Plaza, Plaza Escorial, Plaza del Sol, Arecibo Highway, Beltz Factory, Xtra Plaza Fajardo, Palma Real en Humacao, Mayagüez Mall, Aguadilla Mall, Las Catalinas and Yauco Mall.
- Oriental: Employee emergency line: 787-522-6922
- BBVA: (787) 777-2323 or 1-800-981-2323, or www.bbvapr.com
- Doral: ( 787) 749-7000 or doralbank.com.
- Santander: (787) 281-2000
Retail banking operations should resume Friday, the institutions said in separate statements.
As a precaution, carrier FedEx Express has suspended all delivery and pick-up services today, while its customer service centers on the island will remain closed. Customers expecting a delivery today will receive it as soon as the company resumes operations and the weather permits, FedEx officials said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, service provider Liberty Cablevision announced it has activated its crisis management program to take the necessary precautions over the possibility of service interruptions as a result of power outages.
The plan calls for reviewing infrastructure and cable systems to prevent system breakdowns and be able to restore service as soon as possible after the storm, Liberty Cablevision Marketing and Communications Director Gabriel Palerm said.
More than 225 Liberty employees are on call, and will be monitoring the network on a 24-hour a day basis. The company’s commercial offices in Hatillo, Vega Baja, Cayey, Humacao and Luquillo will remain closed today. Meanwhile offices and kiosks inside malls will open according to the shopping center’s operating hours.
The Economic Development Bank reminded small and mid-sized business owners who are affected by Tropical Storm Isaac that emergency loans are available to ensure continuity.
EDB President Ivonne Otero said the agency’s emergency loans for up to $25,000 are available for all sectors, and to qualify, the business owners must present evidence of their losses.
The agency will also grant affected farmers a three-month moratorium on their insurance premium payments. For more information, call (787) 641-4300 Ext. 1025.
On the other hand the Puerto Rico Tourism Company announced that casinos will remain closed until 10 a.m. Friday, while taxi service at the airport will offer regular transportation services. UPDATE: The agency announced the following casinos will open at 1 p.m. today: Palmas del Mar, Caguas Real, Ritz Carlton, Courtyard Isla Verde, Mayagüez Resort and the Holiday Inn Mayagüez.
Walmart Puerto Rico announced that all of its Walmart, Sam’s and Amigo stores will open during regular business hours today.