As pipeline operations restart, restaurants cope with gas shortage impacts

As pipeline operations restart, restaurants cope with gas shortage impacts

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - At 5 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, the Colonial Pipeline restarted operations after it was shut down for five days after getting hacked.

Now that the pipeline is up and running, when will supply problems catch up to extreme demand and panic-buying?

Once again, people are urged to not panic buy. That’s among the best ways to make sure there’s enough gas for people when their tanks are below 1/4-full, and they really need it.

Getting gas into pumps that were once full, but now empty, may take time. But there’s gas in the pipeline and U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says full pumps will be a sight seen soon.

“It will take a couple of days for the system to catch up with the demand that has been out there,” she said.

That demand has left more than half of gas stations in Virginia empty.

“Everybody should know, gasoline is coming,” Granholm said. “It’s not going to be a shortage situation, everybody will be able to fill up, but it will probably take a couple of days.”

Meanwhile, in central Virginia, some restaurants are facing challenges because of the shortage.

“It’s almost eerie,” said Shawn Sackett, an assistant manager at Vocelli Pizza on Route 29. “Usually the phone’s ringing off the hook, now it’s just the subtle hum of the oven.”

Vocelli Pizza’s business has taken a hit since the gas shortage.

“Earlier today we were delivering a short distance but as of tonight we’re doing carryout only,” he said, discussing Wednesday’s difficulties.

That decision was made to make sure their drivers simply had enough gas to get home. This comes as restaurants are already struggling to find staffing.

Marco’s Owner Scott Quagliata says this isn’t helping, as they now have to increase staffing.

“We’ve probably upped it 10-15%,” he said.

Both restaurants said carry-out orders are also taking a hit because many people are keeping a close eye on the tank.

Both Secretary Granholm and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner say this is just another reminder that the U.S. needs to improve its cyber security. Granholm says everyone, both businesses and regular citizens, needs to be on “high alert.”

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