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Kona Village closing due to tsunami, laying off workers

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Kona Village Resort on the Big Island said today it will close indefinitely and lay off its workers on April 3 due to damage from the Japanese tsunami last week.

“We are very sad to close Kona Village Resort for an extended period of time, but the damage to the property from this natural disaster is severe enough to render it inoperable,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, CEO of Hualalai Resort/Kona Village Resort. “We are fortunate that our guests and employees were evacuated safely. Our hearts are heavy with this decision’s impact on employees and loyal guests who have visited us over the years. Our thoughts also are with the people of Japan during this difficult time.”

The news release went on to say, “The 45-year old resort sustained significant structural damage from the storm surge, including more than 20 Hale, the resort’s bungalow-style, thatched roof accommodations, some of which were completely removed from their foundations based upon the force of the water.  Other damaged buildings or attractions at the 82-acre resort include the Hale Moana and Hale Samoa restaurants, Hale Ho’omau, the Shipwreck and Talk Story bars, reception and main office as well as the Ocean Activity Center on property.”

Employees will stay on the payroll through April 3. The company said it is covering their health care insurance through the end of April.

“Kona Village has contacted neighboring resorts and the state Workforce Development Division for assistance with transition and job placement,” the news release said.

The company also said: “All guests with current reservations on hold are being contacted by Kona Village’s reservations teams, and will receive a full refund of any deposits made.  The reservation contact phone number is 800-367-5290.”

Kona Village opened in 1965 and has 125 thatched roof bungalow accommodations.

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