GRAND ISLAND, NY (WKBW) — Empty. Quiet. Since March this is what bowling centers have looked and sounded like across New York. “Honestly, at the very beginning, we thought this think would last a couple weeks,” said Mike Mallwitz’s family has owned Mallwitz’s Island Lanes on Grand Island, for 40 years.
Nearing August, bowling is still off limits when it comes to COVID-19 prevention in New York State.
Mallwitz says everything at his business is ready for social distancing.
“We’re ready to go,” said Mallwitz.
While, summers are usually slow for bowling, Mallwitz and other owners are looking for guidance this fall.
“The month of August is what we use to build our league base and get customers in the door and thinking about bowling for the upcoming bowling season. And right now, we’re not able to do that so we’re really scared where September is going to hit, where we should be starting our leagues, and we’re not going to be,” added Mallwitz.
To start knocking pins down again, Mallwitz, along with other bowling center owners with the New York State Bowling Proprietors Association of America are sending Governor Andrew Cuomo bowling pins.
“When you’ve got a bunch of three-and-a-half-pound bowling pins that are sitting in your mailbox, definitely want to clean the mailbox out and take action on it,” said Fran Bax, a New York State Bowling Hall of Famer.
Bax, a bowler with a pre-existing conditions, also loves the idea of a safe place to play.
“I’m going to basically end up in a body bag if that happens,” said Bax about hypothetically contracting COVID-19. “So, I just want to make sure I’m able to enter a bowling center that’s clean, safe, sanitized and well taken care of.”
The hope is to get any response from the governor’s office.
“Explain why we can’t be open right now. Maybe, give us a potential future date, anything, just some kind of information but right now, we’re completely in the dark,” said Mallwitz.
7 Eyewitness News asked the governor’s office about bowling centers and re-opening. We have not received a response.
Mallwitz is providing free bowling pins to send to Governor Cuomo’s office.