Evacuees enjoy the Good Life City, create local business boom

Evacuees enjoy the Good Life City, create local business boom
Lines at businesses (Source: WALB)
Lines at businesses (Source: WALB)
Rashelle Beasley (Source: WALB)
Rashelle Beasley (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - People continued to line up at restaurants around south Georgia as hurricane evacuees headed home.

It's some good news for the economy that is unfortunately connected to a disaster.

Tens of thousands of Hurricane Matthew evacuees sought refuge in south Georgia.

Hotels have been booked since Wednesday afternoon and just started having available rooms on Monday.

"It's a great thing for the community," said the Director of the Albany Visitor's Bureau Rashelle Beasley.

Albany saw an unexpected economic upswing over the weekend.

Hurricane Matthew evacuees traveled to the area seeking shelter.

Business owners, like Bo Henry, said that Albany was ready.

"What you have to do is step up and take care of them while they're here, and that's what we tried to do," explained Henry.

More than 250 people signed in at the visitors center.

People came looking for hotels, restaurants and entertainment.

"We were glad that we were available for the evacuees and were able to help them with family activities so it didn't keep them in a hotel room," said Beasley.

Albany businesses are expected to make over $4 million just from the weekend.

Restaurants had long waiting lists, hotels had been completely booked since Wednesday and were still full because evacuees were still in hotels around town.

"We still have some at Merry Acres now and we were force full over the last five or six days from it," explained Henry. "It was a full hotel there and every hotel in town."

Members of the community have helped make visitors feel comfortable, they have showed them around town, offered suggestions on places to eat and activities to do around town.

They helped take their mind off of Hurricane Matthew.

"We're just glad we have places for them to stay, and hopefully we gave them good hospitality and made them feel as welcome as we could," said Henry.

"It also gave us an unexpected economic boom that we were not expecting," explained Beasley.

Several people were still in town on Monday and restaurants and shops were packed with people.

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