Clinton Cotton of Vancouver celebrates a successful bowl at Allen’s Crosley Lanes. The Vancouver Parks and Recreation department currently offers two bowling sessions a week for people with disabilities but is capping the number of participants allowed at each session. (Photo by Alisha Jucevic/The Columbian)
Local bowling centers got the word they were looking for on Thursday.
Gov. Jay Inslee announced updated guidance to the state’s Safe Start phased reopening plan that would allow bowling centers to reopen, provided the facilities meet certain requirements.
“We have worked with stakeholders for weeks and sometimes months to arrive at these guidelines,” Inslee said. “We continue to balance the need for activities that contribute to physical, mental, and emotional well-being with the steps needed to control the virus. Our ability to reopen depends on every Washingtonian doing their part to ensure fewer, shorter and safer interactions.”
Bowling centers in counties in Phase 2 or 3 of reopening — Clark County has been in Phase 2 since early June — can reopen once they have shown they can meet and maintain requirement detailed Thursday.
The governor’s requirements include a limit of two bowlers per lane and bowlers must maintain six feet of distance between them and bowlers in other lanes or other areas of the facility.
Donn Allen, owner of the Allen’s Crosley Lanes, said during a rally for bowling on Aug. 8 that his facility was ready to meet the requirements.
“We’re all ready to go,” he said then. “We just need the OK from the state.”
Robin Bailey, co-owner of Bailey’s Tiger Bowl in Battle Ground, said she and husband Dennis Bailey have been working to get their center ready to reopen.
“We’ve rearranged the whole place,” Robin Bailey said on Aug. 8. “We’ve got six feet spacing between all seating, we got plexiglass up, sanitizing stations throughout. We’ve done whatever we can to separate everybody.”
To start, only league play, or practice for league play, will be allowed. No spectators will be allowed, arcades will remain closed, lanes are required to scheduled 15 minutes between users for cleaning and sanitizing and every bowler must wear a mask.
“Everyone is OK with the masks,” Bailey said. “Everyone wants to bowl.”
Bowling centers must also document protections are in place to keep employees safe as well before they can reopen.
Allen says he is holding a staff meeting with his employees on Friday and hopes to be able to open on Tuesday — his birthday.