Hurricane Florence Prep King Street

A sign attempts to attract customers outside of HoM in Charleston ahead of Hurricane Florence on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. Lauren Petracca/ Staff

Kristen Kornbluth is a food runner and server's assistant at Indaco, a restaurant on Upper King Street.

During a typical dinner shift, the 21-year-old will come in around 5 p.m. and work until 10 or 11 p.m., making roughly $13 an hour.

Like many workers in Charleston's vibrant food and beverage industry, Kornbluth was skeptical of Gov. Henry McMaster's early call for an evacuation. She figured it would negatively affect business — and in turn, her income — days before projections could be certain about Hurricane Florence's landfall.

"If his 'mandatory evacuation' isn’t going to make my restaurant close, it's kind of a moot point for me," Kornbluth said. "That's annoying."

She is far from alone, as hourly workers up and down the coast grappled not only with the anxieties over preparing for the approaching storm but also with the uncertainty over what it might cost them.

On Monday, McMaster ordered evacuations along the state's entire 187-mile coastline in preparation for Florence, a Category 4 hurricane now expected to make landfall in North Carolina early Friday.

After Tuesday's forecast predicted a slight shift north, McMaster lifted the evacuation for Beaufort, Jasper and Colleton counties (with the exception of Edisto Beach, which is in Colleton County).

At a press conference, McMaster briefly addressed the concerns of hourly wage workers who might face a pinch.

"We live on the coast, and that means we have hurricanes," he said. "I think most of us are just happy to live in South Carolina."

Any temporary disruption to business was a secondary consideration to ensuring residents remained safe. It takes about 36 to 48 hours to evacuate the coast, and a storm can change course in about two to three hours, said Adjutant General Bob Livingston, the head of the National Guard in South Carolina.

"We have to err on the side of caution to make sure all of our citizens are safe," he said. "One life is not worth an economic advantage somewhere else."

For Kornbluth, the decision to evacuate is based on more than losing a few days' pay. She worried about losing her job if she chose to leave. The evacuation itself, including gas, lodging and meals out of town, also would be expensive.

"There's no way I'm going to leave," she said. "It’ll make me look not dependable. I don’t want to leave anybody in a hard spot."

Isabella Acosta started working at downtown clothing boutique Shop SXC two months ago. Most of her co-workers are students at the College of Charleston. Because the college cancelled classes this week, Acosta has picked up extra hours.

If the store closes, she said she's worried about losing the extra income. But the retail industry isn't tip-based, so the slow business won't affect her.

"A few people came in who were happy we're open, because, 'Urban Outfitters is closed,'" she said Tuesday. "There's nothing else to do."

Harper Howell is a bartender at The Macintosh, a King Street restaurant in the heart of the Charleston peninsula.

As a full-time employee, he has some perks of a salaried job: dental, vision and medical insurance. But he is still paid by the hour, tips included. Howell was frustrated that the governor's evacuation had driven away business: Would-be customers called early this week to cancel their reservations.

As of Tuesday, The Macintosh planned to stay open. Howell said he planned to show up for his scheduled Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night shifts.

"If you're not present, you're not getting paid," he said. "That's the downfall of working in our industry."

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He typically makes about $400 between Friday and Saturday nights, he said, though he expects the evacuation will negatively affect tips.

Still, Howell said, he would rather stay than evacuate himself.

During Hurricane Matthew in 2016, a cash-strapped Howell fled to safety in Asheville. He relied on his parents to help him pay for gas and groceries. This year, he began to set aside money for an emergency fund.

He just hopes he can save it for another rainy day.

John Fuss is the owner and sole operator of Holy City Fishing Charters, a fishing guide company based in Charleston. His lives in North Charleston with his wife and their 15-month-old son.

Hurricane season is never easy on the fishing charter industry. During the summer, Fuss often leads daily charters, but after Sept. 1, business slows to three or five per week. During this off-season, every reservation counts, and Fuss felt he took an extra hit this week because of a premature call for evacuations.

"When you start knocking out trips at the point in time when it's starting to slow, it adds to the loss of income," he said.

Fuss' wife works in a hair and make-up salon. She, too, is paid by the hour, and worried about losing work this week as a result of the evacuations. As of Tuesday, the family had no plans to evacuate.

Seanna Adcox and Stephanie Barna contributed reporting.

Reach Hannah Alani at 843-937-5428. Follow her on Twitter @HannahAlani.

Hannah Alani is a reporter at The Post and Courier covering race, immigration and rural life across the Palmetto State. Before graduating from Indiana University and moving to Charleston in 2017, her byline appeared in The New York Times.