LOS ALTOS, Calif. - For more than three days, Los Altos restaurant owner and chef, Manish Tyagi, has not had a single customer because the storm-inflicted power outage Tuesday has forced him to stay closed.
"It’s been like hell actually," he said. "If there is no internet, no power, you’re actually doing nothing. You’re not doing any business."
Tyagi’s Indian restaurant, Aurum, is just one of numerous small businesses struggling and left to wonder when all the utilities will be restored.
"I have a family of four – two kids and having a family of 15 people here [at the restaurant]. They are completely dependent on us," he said.
By late Thursday evening, PG&E reported the outages had dwindled a bit to just over 4,000 customers still without power on the Peninsula, among the 12,000-plus customers without electricity in the entire Bay Area.
"We don’t have refrigeration, we don’t have stoves, no heat," said Los Altos resident Fran Vella. "It’s amazing how much you miss power when you realize you don’t have it."
Vella said it’s very hard on her husband, who depends on a walker and is unable to leave the second floor of their home because the elevator won’t work without power.
Many power lines were brought down by toppled trees or gusts of wind. PG&E said it recorded tornado-force winds at five separate Bay Area weather stations gusting to 97 miles per hour.
Several homes in the Los Altos Hills have been damaged by falling trees or require repairs to electric lines that snapped.
"It’s been a real challenge," Chamber of Commerce President Kim Mosely said. "We’ve been responding to those in need with priority."
By midday Thursday, downtown looked like a ghost town with lights out and businesses closed. PG&E estimated to have all the power restored by Friday night.
"I’m counting every minute until it comes back on," said Vella. "I thought if you’re in a downtown area that’s the first thing they’re going to work on because of all the businesses."
But that’s not the case.
Tyagi said he has been preparing lunches for employees by emergency lighting in his kitchen. A rented refrigeration truck behind the business stores the perishable food he’s trying to save.
He said following the pandemic, this is the latest blow to his business. When the power does come on, he hopes customers will help them recover.
"We are trying from our end everything that we can do to be back in business," Tyagi said. "Please show your love to us and some empathy."