Bowling Alley Owners Left Out Of Phase 4 Argue It’s Safe To Reopen In Plea To Gov. Cuomo

LONG ISLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Bowling alleys are among the businesses still not allowed to reopen in New York.

CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported some of the state’s 300 bowling alley owners made a plea to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday, saying they’re safe.

“Safety of our staff, of our guests, it’s our first concern and we’re blessed with a lot of space here, so we can do this right,” said Joe LaSpina, who owns Maple Family Centers.

New York’s bowling centers employ about 9,000 workers, but are left out of Phase 4.

The owners say they’re ready to roll.

A bipartisan group of legislators is pleading with the governor for guidance.

“This is Phase 4. Tell us what we need to do. We need to hear something. We need to know what it is that it’s gonna take to get our centers going,” said State Assemblyman Joseph DeStefano.


A pair of bowling lanes is 11.5 feet wide. Owners said they can achieve social distancing by closing every other lane.

Temperature would be checked at the door, food would be served behind plastic sheets, and shoes and bowling balls would be sanitized, they said.

“We actually don’t have the customers touch their bowling balls when they leave. Our staff comes in. They’re gloved, they’ll take everything away,” said LaSpina. “So, we can do this where we reduce the amount of touch points the customers have. And they can still have a fun experience on the lane.”

While bowling alleys in New York are closed, they are open in New Jersey, Connecticut and more than half the states in the country.

“Our bowlers are making appointments to take their equipment out of their lockers and they’re trekking to New Jersey and Connecticut,” one person told Gusoff.

“Back in April, I lost my dad, Clint, to the virus and I almost lost my mom as well. Please don’t let this take our business also,” said Chris Keller, who owns “The All Star” Bowling Center.

League bowlers and students are also aching to come back.

“It is my future, honestly,” said Rachel Hines, a nationally ranked bowler who has hopes for a college scholarship.

The governor did not yet comment Friday on the future of bowling.

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