Saturday, April 21, 2018
Business

Businesses throughout Tampa Bay shut down early as Hurricane Irma nears

As Hurricane Irma continues to barrel toward Florida, many Tampa Bay area businesses are packing up and closing up shop. There are a few outliers — retailers from Publix to Walmart will stay open as long as possible to continue selling supplies to residents who won't evacuate. (Publix is closing stores in South Florida, however.)

"We are working with our suppliers to help stay in stock, and will remain open as long as conditions remain safe for our customers and associates," said Ragan Dickens, a spokesman for Walmart.

Then there are fast food chains like McDonald's and Waffle House, which in some cases — like in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston — will try to stay open to the bitter end.

LIVE BLOG: Hurricane Irma threatens Florida as dangerous Category 5 storm

COMPLETE COVERAGE:Find all our coverage about Hurricane Irma here

Here's a sampling of some businesses closing around the region:

Beach Drive area restaurants in St. Petersburg

Parkshore Grill and 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House plan to remain open at least through lunch on Saturday. Two sister restaurants, the Gala Cafe at the Dali Museum and the Hangar and Flight Lounge at Albert Whitted Airport, will be closed as of Friday.

Bella Brava will close Friday until Tuesday.

Stillwaters Tavern will close Friday until a later date.

Cassis will "most likely'' be open for lunch Friday, then plans are indefinite, executive chef Jeremy Duclot said.

Birch & Vine will be open until further notice.

The Moon Under Water will close Friday, Saturday and Sunday, unsure about Monday

Ulele Restaurant and Brewery

Ulele, located at 1810 N. Highland Ave., currently plans on being open for the remainder of Thursday and Friday.

Florida Aquarium

The aquarium will be open during regular business hours through Saturday and will close to the public on Sunday, according to a spokesperson. Beginning Friday at 2 p.m., the outdoor plaza area, which includes the Splash Pad, will be closed until further notice. As of late afternoon on Thursday, aquarium officials are unsure if it will be open Monday.

HSN

Formerly known as the Home Shopping Network, television retailer HSN will continue to broadcast live online and on TV from their studios in Nashville, and will run pre-recorded content if needed, according to a company spokeswoman. The company's St. Petersburg headquarters will close late Saturday through early Monday.

Glazer Children's Museum

The museum will be closed from Friday through Monday ahead of Hurricane Irma, according to a Thursday afternoon tweet.

Lowry Park Zoo

The zoo will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It will likely be closed on Sunday, said spokesperson Christina Lasso in an email, and it will "assess whether we will open Monday in the next coming days."

Jabil

The St. Petersburg-based Fortune 500 electronics manufacturer is heeding the Zone A evacuation. Jabil spokeswoman Beth Walters said Jabil is closing all corporate headquarters and manufacturing operations in Pinellas County "as of midnight tonight (Thursday)."

"We're continuing to prepare for the potential impact of Hurricane Irma with a crisis team comprised of HR, IT, Communications, Security and others meeting twice daily to develop plans and take additional necessary precautions to safeguard our employees and offices" Walters said. "We will maintain employee communications via a Jabil emergency weather hotline and employees will return to work once the campus is declared operational." — Beth Walters, Jabil spokeswoman

Raymond James Financial

The St. Petersburg investment firm said via Twitter that on Friday it is shifting its primary operations to its Detroit and Memphis locations "to manage volume for its business critical functions." The company, based in the Carillon office park area of north St. Petersburg, said "key personnel are temporarily relocating out of the anticipated storm path."

Times staff writers Justine Griffin, Susan Taylor Martin, Malena Carollo and Robert Trigaux contributed to this report.

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