Like many businesses, a South Bay roller rink was forced to close during the pandemic. But it reopened as a vaccination site and now, with more people vaccinated, the rink finally got its keys back Thursday.
For more than 15 months, the Aloha Roller Rink at Eastridge Mall never saw a skater but it was busy saving lives. Now, preparations are underway for a Saturday opening.
“We have a really fast turnaround,” said owner Liz Ruiz. “But I don’t want to wait and be closed any longer than I need. I need to get open.”
Since East San Jose was the hardest hit region in the county, Ruiz figured why not offer her space for vaccinations.
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“It was really empowering to have the opportunity to partner with the county and Stanford Health and get on the other side of the problem and be part of the solution,” she said.
In the end, workers administered 85,000 doses there.
The public health department said Ruiz's willingness to open her doors was crucial in fighting the pandemic in this key demographic.
“It has been a great partnership and has definitely changed the life of many people here in our county especially in East San Jose,” said county spokesperson Ricardo Romero.
Like every small business, Ruiz lost a lot of money during the pandemic.
She credits Eastridge Mall for working with her to stay afloat.
She can open at capacity, but Ruiz says she'll be happy with 500 skaters on Saturday, as she prepares to finally put on a show.
“I’m thrilled to be able to get ready to prepare to open his weekend,” said Ruiz.