Bowling alleys change operation to meet new safety guidelines
By Jordan Bontke via CBSAustin.com
Bars and restaurants weren’t the only places glad to see holiday crowds come through their doors for the first time in over two months for Memorial Day weekend.
Bowling alleys altered their operation to meet new safety guidelines so they can open every other lane for families looking to get out of the house.
David Kellerman at Mel’s Lonestar Lanes off I-35 in Georgetown said, “tears of joy came to my eyes” when Governor Greg Abbott announced bowling alleys were allowed to open along with bingo halls and skating rinks.
“You get to come out here, take a ball, throw it at some pins and release some stress,” said Kellerman smiling underneath his ‘Mel’s Lonestar Lanes’ face mask.
Karen Miller with the Texas Bowling Centers Association helped put out three-pages of suggested safety practices for bowling alleys, employees, league bowling, attached cafes, pro shops even the arcade.
She feared bowling alleys wouldn’t be part of Governor Abbott’s second phase to reopen Texas like water and amusement parks but she said the suggested guidelines played a role in bowling alleys being given the green light to reopen.
Like bars, bowling centers are allowed to open at 25 percent capacity which Kellerman says is about 180 people.
Sanitizer greets customers at the door before masked employees set up customers with shoes that are no disinfected both inside and out.
A variety of bowling balls wait for customers at the return machine and newly trained staff, who are screened before they come to work, are instructed to wipe down the ball before each group of guests.
Every other lane is closed off to encourage distancing.
“We’re monitoring making sure everybody is staying on their own lanes,” said Kellerman.
The high tough area of the arcade is closed – for now.
“There are some things we have in mind like giving our guests gloves to use while they are in the arcade – that’s another day,” said Kellerman.
While regulars, league bowlers and families are learning the new way, Kellerman said online reservations are encouraged. He said they can be made as late as 30 minutes prior to arrival.