This story was updated at 2:29 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, with more information.
Dillard's reopened its Chattanooga stores and Walmart resumed most credit and debit card usage at its 30 area stores on Sunday after AT&T restored most of its phone service cut off after a Christmas Day explosion outside of the AT&T transmission building in Nashville.
The retailers in Chattanooga were forced to limit some of their operations or credit card payments Saturday due to the AT&T phone outages, but the phone company said Sunday it has restored more than 75% of mobility sites affected by the explosion.
In a statement Sunday, AT&T said "significant progress was made in our restoration efforts overnight" at its AT&T transmission building in downtown Nashville which was damaged Christmas morning. Early Friday morning, a recreational vehicle exploded on Second Avenue in front of the AT&T building, one of about 40 buildings damaged in downtown Nashville by the blast.
AT&T service was cut off Friday and Saturday in parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama as a result of the Nashville explosion, which cut power to the AT&T facility and left many AT&T consumers and many merchants across the Mid-South without cellular service during parts of the Christmas holiday weekend.
Walmart had been accepting only cash payments at its Chattanooga stores Saturday, but credit and debit card payments were restored Sunday. Dillard's opened with other stores at Hamilton Place at noon Sunday after the two mall stores closed Saturday because of the AT&T service problems.
"Repair crews have restored power to four floors of the AT&T transmission building in Nashville and more than 65% of mobility sites affected by the explosion on Friday have been restored," AT&T said in a statement Sunday. "More than three feet of water was pumped out of the building's basement on Saturday, but access to the lower floors of the building is still limited."
By Sunday afternoon, AT&T said mobility service was back to normal in the Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama areas. AT&T said Saturday that it had restored full service to Lexington, Kentucky and work crews continue to address problems in other parts of Tennessee served by the Nashville facility.
"We expect to activate power to at least four additional floors of the building during the day today and are working on the cooling equipment to manage the temperatures in the facility," AT&T said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
AT&T said it is working to bring additional equipment online and reroute services through other facilities in the region.
"We are bringing in additional resources to support the recovery of wireline voice and data services and expect to have a fleet of 24 additional trailers of disaster recovery equipment on site by the end of the day," AT&T said in a statement Sunday afternoon.
— Compiled by Dave Flessner