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Bowling centers pushing for permission to reopen

Emily Burkhard
Updated: July 31, 2020 07:22 PM
Created: July 31, 2020 05:46 PM

SOUTH GLENS FALLS - Owners of bowling centers across the state gathered in South Glens Falls Friday to call on Gov. Cuomo to let them reopen.

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Owners said they've put in plans with the state well before the phase system was even announced.

That's why they're sending Gov. Cuomo a message, both figuratively and literally by sending bowling pins right to his office telling him that they really need to reopen. Otherwise, the livelihoods of many small businesses and small communities may be at stake.

"Each day that passes, we run the risk of losing more of these bowling centers," Doug Bohannon said.

Bohannon is the president of New York State Bowling Proprietors Association. He also owns Kingpins Alley in South Glens Falls.

He said about 95 percent of the 300 bowling alleys across the state are family-owned. They employ 9,000 people and in the 137 days they've been closed they've lost about $90 million in revenue.

Employees have lost an estimated $25 million to $30 million in wages.

Bohannon said most bowling centers already have all the necessary safety precautions in place.

Shoes will be sanitized before and after each use and you can use disposable slip covers if you don't want to change out of your street shoes.

Bowling balls will be sanitized before and after each use with a special spray was created to help kill coronavirus germs. They can also socially distance bowlers by closing every other lane.

Dozens of bowling center owners and managers gathered at Kingpins Alley to share their frustrations. Elected officials joined them to call on Gov. Cuomo to let them reopen.

"Families need a break, how many board games can you play after dinner?" said Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D – Round Lake). How many times can you watch a Disney movie before you go out of your mind? Families need a place to go to be together to be active, to be engaged and that's what bowling centers are."

Senator Daphne Jordan wrote to Gov. Cuomo earlier this month asking him for specific reasons why bowling centers can't reopen.

"Bowling centers are easily reconfigurable for social distancing and can abide by indoor occupancy parameters just as easily as restaurants and other businesses that are now open," said Senator Daphne Jordan (R – Halfmoon).

Bohannon said several centers have been forced to closed amid the pandemic. He said if they aren't allowed to open soon, many fall leagues may cross state lines to play in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

"Some of them have been open for well over a month now and there's no evidence whatsoever that by these bowling centers being open that there's been any increase of COVID positive tests," Bohannon said.

Stay tuned to NewsChannel 13 for updates on this story in the coming days and weeks.


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