Storm interrupts commerce; not all get snow days

Published 12:34 am Thursday, January 30, 2014

When the Andalusia Walmart closed in the 5 o’clock hour Tuesday night, people began commenting on social media that the world must be ending.

And while Winter Storm Leon did not stop the world, he did stop commerce in this part of it, for the most part.

The Post Office didn’t open on Wednesday; neither did Shaw, Vector Aerospace, or SaeHaeSung, three of the area’s largest employers.

But health care workers got no break.

“We have a designation that is Code 1,” said Patty Ashworth, community relations director for Andalusia Regional Hospital. “It’s related to things that happen externally – be it the weather or a bus wreck. We went into Code 1 so that we could be ready.”

Surgical teams spent the night at ARH, she said, adding that a call team did, as well.

“We offered our employees the opportunity to stay in the hospital,” she said. “Many of them did.”

The outpatient surgical unit was temporarily converted to a dorm of sort for employees, she said.

“If they choose to leave, they have to be able to get back,” Ashworth said. “We are responsible not only for our patients’ safety, but also for the safety of those who work a 12-hour shift and need to rest.”

The story was similar at Andalusia Manor and Savannah Terrace, where some employees remained, said SalLee Sasser-Williams, director of operations of Sasser Enterprises, who on Wednesday night had been at work since early Tuesday morning. Like her brother and co-worker, Stallion Sasser, she had spent part of her day driving employees to and from work.

Most commerce was expected to resume between 10 and 1 today, Thurs., Jan. 30.