Guests help clean up storm damage at short-staffed Wildwood motel due to COVID-19

WILDWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Recovery efforts are still continuing down at the shore more than 48 hours after Tropical Storm Isaias.

On Tuesday morning, a tornado tore through Marmora, Cape May County, causing extensive damage. Nearby shore towns fared a bit better though, thanks in part to tourists.

Part of the roof of Brittany Motel in Wildwood blew off during the storm.

"The pool was a complete disaster, our gate was broken, and when the storm died down I had a rush of guests come into my office, and I was assuming they were asking for refunds or wanting to get out," said Sophia Hanna, the manager of Brittany Motel.

Instead most guests asked for a broom. Hanna said no guests left.

"I saw the roof flip flopping back and forth, so we went up there and cut the roof off, part of the roof that was flying around down here, we didn't want anybody to get hit," said David Macdonald, a guest.

"They got their bathing suits on, and went into the pool, and were collecting debris," said Hanna, "I mean it was amazing."

Many motels across Wildwood are short staffed, already hit hard by the pandemic, and this storm was another blow.

"We need the business desperately," said John Donio, the president of Downtown Wildwood Business Improvement. "These are small businesses, they need your help, and we cater to families and couples, that's what Wildwood is all about."

Now many motels have to work on repairs, and Hanna said the phones have stopped ringing, but she wants guests to know that they are open and they are thankful for the support during these unprecedented times.

"Honestly, I was brought to tears, I was an emotional wreck from the beginning, because I was scared and nervous, and then also crying because I was just overwhelmed with love from our guests," said Hanna.

The summer season is over in about a month, and many businesses including ones on the boardwalk have been trying to make up for lost days due to the storm, any way they can.
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