ROME, NY (WUTR-TV) — Staff at King Pin Lanes feel like the balls in the gutter when it comes to getting the state’s approval to reopen their business. On Thursday, New York State Senator Joseph Griffo and Assemblymembers Marianne Buttenschon, Brian Miller, and John Salka, called on the state to release guidance that would allow bowling alleys and related entertainment venues such as billiard halls to reopen.
“We can do this safely and we will do this safely,” says Craig Vogel, owner of King Pin Lanes in Rome. Bowling alleys across the state are itching to open their doors. “…and I believe it’s because we’re classified as a non essential recreation when I am here to tell him [Cuomo] we’re a very essential sport, and we’re the fabric of our community and we want to open,” says Vogel.
Originally, bowling alleys along with gyms and movie theaters had the green light to reopen in Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan. It was only a few days before the Mohawk Valley Region headed into Phase 4 in June, the governor said those businesses are no longer able to open in the last phase. The governor says those businesses are still considered ‘high risk activities.’ For the bowling industry, there is no new set date as to when they can open.
“I am a covid survivor. So when I look at these plans…we want to make sure that these are plans that can work,” says Assemblyman Brian Miller.
Vogel created a sanitation station for bowling balls and shoes. Everyone will wear masks and do their best to stay six feet apart. Temperatures will be checked at the door. As for food and drinks, the bar room will be serving their customers through a service window for them to eat back at their lanes.
“I have heard from local bowling alley owners regarding the potential and long-anticipated reopening of their establishments during this pandemic,” says Sen. Griffo. Since King Pin Lanes closed their doors in mid March, the business has lost $150,000. “…and that’s during the summer months. Once the weather kicks in — if we can’t open the only people that keep on raiding out bank accounts is New York State,” says Vogel.