Rome, NY - With now all regions in New York State in Phase Four of the coronavirus reopening process, recreational activities like bowling have been left in the gutter, State officials and local bowling alley owners are now calling on Governor Cuomo to reopen.
“They don’t need any additional burdens or any additional roadblocks that will put them out of business,” said NYS Senator Joseph Griffo, 47th District. “Having conversations with the owners I can feel the not only the time sensitivity for the fact that they're on the brink.”
The reopening of bowling alleys, originally set for Phase Four, has since been delayed with no indication of reopening. With safety guidelines in place, struggling business owners say it’s time.
“We have a sanitation station set up. When somebody bowls they all go to their lane in their bowl when they're done they leave everything on their lane. I'll have a dedicated employee I will go over and clean everything, every touchable surface, including bowling balls, shoes, and they will return them,” said Craig Vogel, owner of King Pin Lanes.
King Pin Lanes will only be filled to 50% capacity with alternating lanes of use. Plexiglass has been installed at the reception counters, mask-wearing is required and several hand sanitizers are placed throughout the building. The restaurant will be open for food to be delivered to lanes, the room will remain closed.
King Pin Lanes has been closed since March 20 sustaining a 150,000 dollars deficit through their slower business months of summer.
“This bowling Center is almost out of money once we run out of money that will pretty much be it. So, we're very close to running out of money, yes,” said Vogel. “We urge the Governor to classify us as an essential sport instead of a non-essential recreation.”
While state officials understand that the state's primary focus is combating the coronavirus, they do believe that these businesses are ready to reopen safely.
“The plans are solid. The plans are there,” said Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, District 119. “The plans have been done to ensure that safety and they deserve the opportunity to put those plans forward. All bowling alleys are 3,000 plus square feet so they have the opportunity to ensure social distancing and safety for everyone that is within.”
“We just want to chance you know I Want to try to save these jobs and save his business for Rome, New York we just want to chance and we're not getting it,” said Vogel.
Senator Griffo adds, “They have plans in place that will meet the protocols necessary to keep people safe. But if you don’t make the decision now, if you don’t allow them to reopen now, then this industry is imperil and a lot of people will lose their jobs and communities will lose a valuable recreational outlet.”
“In times like these, when people are under such pressure, such stress, to recreate is more important now than ever,” said Assemblyman John Salka, District 121.