Citizens return to Miami Beach in Hurricane Irma aftermath

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - City officials allowed residents to return to Miami Beach, Tuesday, as the city recovers from Hurricane Irma.

Residents like Marcelo Paez were relieved it wasn’t worse.

“I’m extremely lucky. I can’t complain,” said Paez. “This is just cleanup, you know?”

Getting back to the Beach was not easy. Cars lined up on the MacArthur Causeway overnight until they were let in at 8 a.m., Tuesday.

“We’ve been closed for almost a week, so we need to get back to work today,” said Miami Beach business owner Valentina Imbrenda.

Imbrenda took 7News inside of her Italian restaurant, left unscathed by the storm.

Even without electricity, the restaurant continued to serve hot meals.

“We’re going to be doing our homemade pasta. We’re going to be doing lasagna.” said Imbrenda.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine made rounds, Tuesday, to check in on popular hotels like the Edition and the iconic Eden Roc.

“We’ve had a massive cleanup. Our hotels have really come together,” he said.

Eden Roc sustained some damage from the storm, like the historic neon sign, but managers said all signs point to business as usual.

“Our sign on top has been a little skewed, so you will see at night the Eden Roc doesn’t read like the ‘Eden Roc,’ unfortunately,” said General Manager Laurence Dubey. “So we’ll have to fix that, but that’s it,”

Though Ocean Drive has reopened for business, residents are still left in the dark and are wondering when their power will be restored.

Levine said it’s only a matter of time. “I say to our residents, ‘Let’s be patient.’ We may not have been having this conversation if it was a Category 5 direct hit,” he said. “Thank God we are having this conversation. It’s just about power, and we’re doing everything in our power.”

Cars parked in the city’s garages as a means of protection during the storm must be removed by Sept. 18.

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