Bowling alleys rally at the Capitol to reopen

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 5:15 PM EDT

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – Bowling centers rallied at the state Capitol on Wednesday to protest the closure of their businesses.

They came to Lansing on buses and in cars, representing centers from Detroit to Muskegon.

The only centers open are in Northern Michigan. All others have been closed since the start of the pandemic in March.

Bo Goergen, Executive Director of Bowling Centers Association of Michigan says the economic hit has been rough.

“Just in the state of Michigan, we figure it’s about $350 million dollars worth of revenue and 10,000 employees are unemployed. So, 300 bowling centers. That’s a lot of income that’s not being utilized,” said Goergen.

Goergen believes the industry can open safely and doesn’t understand why they haven’t be allowed to.

“Is it the touch points? Is it the rental shoes or the house balls? My response to that is what’s the difference between a house ball and rental shoes than a shopping cart or a basket at a grocery store? They get sanitized. We can sanitize these elements and every aspect of our facility,” said Goergen.

He says they’ve submitted safety plans to the Governor’s office and haven’t heard back.

“They’re not listening to us. We’ve been sending information weekly to the administration, preparedness plans, protocols, how we can open safely since April 28 and still haven’t even got a thank you or we’re looking into this or anything,” said Goergen.

That frustration has led the organization to file a lawsuit against the Governor and Attorney General.

Steven Douglas owns Renaissance Bowling Center in Detroit. He says he doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be able to stay closed.

“I’ve lost about 400,000 in income in the last four and a half months and it is affecting me, you know? Every day you worry. Well, what do you do?” said Douglas. “When you see restaurants and Home Depot and other places that are open and thriving, their businesses are thriving and you’re sitting here. Like, me myself I’ve never filed for unemployment in my life. Well, I’m at the point where I might actually have to file for it.”

Josh Tejchma is co-owner of Northway Lanes & Billiards. He traveled from Muskegon after making little to no income his first year in business.

“Right now is when everybody should be signing up for the fall leagues and you can’t come in to even sign up and people are asking questions. Are you going to be able to have leagues this year? At this point, we don’t know,” said Tejchma.

News 10 reached out to the Governor’s Office. We’ll update this story when we get a response.

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