Business owners assess Hurricane Delta damage

Storm surges from Hurricane Delta thrashed Grand Old House's outside deck.

For the latest information on storm activity in the Cayman Islands, as well as information on how to prepare for hurricane season, visit Storm Centre.

Business owners along Grand Cayman’s southwestern coastline were counting their blessings Wednesday, despite having to clean up from damage left in the wake of Hurricane Delta.

On Tuesday, 6 Oct., the Category 4 hurricane veered southwest of Grand Cayman and missed the island by about 100 miles. However, the storm surge caused by the weather system resulted in damage to a number of waterfront properties.

Waves continue to batter the deck of Cayman Cabana more than 24 hours after the all-clear for Hurricane Delta was given. – Photo: Luigi Moxam

“Right now, gratitude is a must, regardless of the situation; we are so grateful that the storm missed us,” said Luigi Moxam, owner of Cayman Cabana restaurant. “We really don’t know the cost of the damages yet, because the place is still pretty much under water.”

Taking to social media, Moxam posted a video and pictures of the damage. In the images, loosened plywood and lumber can be seen bashing against the tattered remains of a dock extending into the sea. The pictures also show an assortment of sand, stones and other sediment scattered throughout the seaside restaurant’s parking lot.

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“Although the storm missed us, it caused more damage than other storms that have passed closer to Cayman in recent times,” said Moxam.

A couple of miles from Moxam’s restaurant, Luciano De Riso, the manager of Grand Old House on South Church Street, and his team found themselves in a similar position.

“Our outside deck was completely destroyed, as well as part of the outside bar,” said De Riso. “It is going to be closed for another five to seven days, maybe even longer. You can’t really fight nature.”

Although the damages will be fixed in a matter of days, they serve as further complications to Moxam’s and De Riso’s businesses, which were already struggling due to the economic impact of COVID-19 restrictions.

Hurricane Delta scattered debris across the parking lot of Cayman Cabana. – Photo: Luigi Moxam

“It’s just one thing after another; we’ve had the earthquake, the fire, the pandemic, and now we are dodging hurricanes,” said Moxam. “We are going to have to close the business due to the weather, which will be even more difficult, and will also add up on the bottom line.”

De Riso said, “We are going to have to definitely tighten our belt even more. This won’t cause us to close our business, but it definitely is an additional expense.”

High waves crash onto the deck at Rackams on the George Town waterfront on Wednesday afternoon. – Photo: Olga Korobova

But with every grey storm cloud, there is a silver lining, which for Moxam and De Riso are the lessons learned from COVID-19.

“During the pandemic, we had to adapt how we do business,” Moxam said. “One of those lessons was opening our kitchen and doing deliveries, as well as kerbside pick-ups. That might be the answer for now.”

De Riso noted that his location came with a risk. “We are located on the waterfront and we are glad to be there, so we understand that this is part of the price we must pay.”

Harbour Drive in George Town, which was closed to traffic on Tuesday night because of heavy sea surge, remained cordoned off Wednesday afternoon as high waves continued to crash against the shoreline.

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