Ice Palace, other longtime Hawaii businesses set to reopen after coronavirus hardships

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — It has been a tough year for many local businesses.

Several of them weathered the pandemic storm and used the downtime to revamp and renovate, like Hawaii’s favorite place to cool off during the summer: Ice Palace.

Things might look a little different to regulars of Ice Palace. Skates were stored away, the snack bar was removed and the ice is completely melted down.

“We’re definitely missing our big chunk of ice, especially during this time summer,” said Michelle Azo, vice president of Ice Palace.

Hawaii’s only ice rink has been closed for more than year and a half.

“I think Christmas was the most difficult for me you know, because the feeling of Christmas would be here at the ice palace, and from employees, to customers, to skaters, everyone, would just feel the Christmas spirit and to not have that, that was difficult,” said Azo.

“We thought we weren’t going to be able to avoid it so we shutdown for the safety of the kids, so in this time we took on many projects we just used the time to build upon the facility,” said Doug Taylor, owner of Ice Palace.

Ice Palace hopes to debut a new ice rink at its anticipated reopening in September and it is not the only business hoping to turn things around in 2021. Not too far away, the Newtown Driving Range is getting ready to tee off for the first time since March 2020.

“We’re just glad to be apart of this revitalization we’re going to be upgrading a lot of the stuff that’s going to be here with the new driving range. we’re really excited,” said Casey Nakama, managing director of Newtown Driving Range.

There are some businesses that are still stuck in limbo while others are bouncing back..

“There’s still a capacity issue, or a gathering the number of people that can gather. So until we get that full reopening, we’re still operating under some type of capacity. And so that’s why we can’t we don’t see all businesses reopen. Because they just can’t under this the current terms,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii.

The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii says there is a long road ahead, but things are looking bright.

“We have been seeing economic activity, but it will take a lot longer to fully recover. So again to the businesses, please continue to push forward and thank you for all that they’re doing” said Menor-McNamara.

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