By Alexa Lightle and Brooke Steinberg
The city of Cedar Key is still facing major damages as an effect of Hurricane Hermine and the flooding that occurred from the hurricane.
The hurricane came through the city leaving debris everywhere and stores flooded.
The storm wiped away most of the Island Room Restaurant at Cedar Cove. The windows and walls of the restaurant were torn out, the carpet was removed and the bar was completely demolished, said Peter Stefani, co-owner of the restaurant.
Peter and his wife Gina had no idea what to expect, but did not expect this much damage. They boarded up the windows and evacuated the city to get to safety.
“We took two huge dumpsters of refrigerators out, and if you look outside there’s a giant pile of debris that’s all been removed,” Peter Stefani said.
The flooding in the restaurant wiped away most of the bottles of liquor that were in the bar. Some of the bottles were recovered and are being stored in a room in Cedar Cove.
The water went through the restaurant and the tide went back out through where the windows once were. Removing water from the premises was not the big issue.
The Florida Department of Health encouraged all residents to drain standing water and discard broken appliances that are not usable anymore, according to the Florida Health website.
Every kitchen appliance at the Island Room Restaurant needed to be thrown out and replaced. The insurance company visited the restaurant to see if the damage could be covered, Peter Stefani said.
The Stefanis have received a lot of support through the rebuilding of their restaurant.
“There is just an outpouring of all of the volunteers and how the community gets together, and all of a sudden there’s just nothing but love,” said Gina Stefani, co-owner of the Island Room Restaurant at Cedar Cove.
Many wedding receptions have been held at the restaurant, and couples that have gotten married there showed up to help clean up the area along with personal friends and other clients, Gina Stefani said.
Peter hopes to have the restaurant back up, redone and running by Thanksgiving.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been working directly with the state of Florida to help assess the damages in numerous counties, including Levy County.
FEMA is assessing what additional resources will be needed to support the citizens of these counties and local governments affected by the storm.
“We’re working directly with the state,” said Mary Hudak, spokesperson for Region IV FEMA. “We have folks at the emergency operations center to make sure that we understand what requests [the citizens] might have to help them as they need it.”