Fayetteville bowling alley ready to reopen for first time since March amid state judge ruling

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A state judge's ruling is allowing many bowling alley businesses to reopen for the first time in months, including B&B Bowling Lanes.

Nancy Schenk, the owner of the Fayetteville-based business, said they haven't been open since March, losing nearly half a million dollars during prime bowling months.

Judge rules that bowling alleys in NC can reopen; Gov. Cooper requests stay, says it could cause 'immediate danger to public health'

"This has been a long battle. We started this battle back on May 20, when we were not included in Phase 2," Schenk said.

Dozens of bowling alley owners plan to file lawsuit against governor's office after not being allowed to reopen during Phase 2

On Tuesday, Judge James Gale overruled Governor Roy Cooper's COVID-19 executive order, which left bowling establishments off the reopen category.

This all stemmed from a lawsuit put together by the Bowling Proprietors Association of the Carolinas and Georgia.

Schenk is a past president for the Bowling Proprietors Association of America and current legislative chair for the BPACG.

"We have the ability, for those who are ready, to provide a clean, fun environment," Schenk said.

Because of the current ruling, Schenk plans to reopen her bowling alley Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. The facility is located on Fort Bragg Road.

FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

Judge Gale's ruling requires these establishments to follow strict, CDC recommended procedures, something Schenk said the BPACG had a hand in creating.

Some of the major requirements include patrons and staff wearing masks, remaining a safe, six feet away from each other, and limiting the sharing of bowling balls.

Other guidelines include:

  • All bowling balls shall be removed from the lane concourse area after usage
  • When allowing a patron to choose a bowling ball for use, once touched by a patron, the ball shall be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before being allowed to be touched by another patron
  • All unnecessary touch points throughout the concourse shall be eliminated, and those that cannot be eliminated, included seating areas, will be wiped between use by groups and thoroughly cleaned and sanitized each twenty-four hour period
  • Hand sanitizer stations shall be made available throughout each establishment
  • Any employee shall have access to at least two safety classes which teach how to safely work and provide a safe environment for patrons
  • Social distancing throughout the venue shall be encouraged and enforced
  • All employees must answer a health questionnaire and have their temperature taken daily prior to working. Any employee showing symptoms or with a fever shall not be allowed to enter the establishment
  • Adequate precautions shall be taken to guard against the presence of any employee or patron known or reasonably believed either to be exhibiting symptoms of infection with the COVID-19 virus or to have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus within the preceding 14 days


"Just as much as we are a safe environment from COVID, we're needed. We need, we need, as human beings, that social outlet. We need, as human beings, physical activity," Schenk said.

Schenk told ABC11 that many customers tend to already be family members, which will help with keeping groups apart.

However, the battle isn't over just yet. Governor Cooper is appealing the ruling and asking the court to halt openings until another ruling is put forth.

In a statement released by the governor's office, it says the state is dealing with record-breaking hospitalizations and positive cases while trying to "get schools open and prevent the state from going backward on restrictions."

Schenk believes they can protect the health and wellness of staff and patrons like other businesses currently open.

"There's no more danger at a bowling center than there is at a restaurant or vape shop or at a swimming pool," said Schenk.

The business woman and mother told ABC11 she will enjoy this win and hopes she can keep her family's 60-year business alive. If the ruling gets overturned in the Court of Appeals, she told Eyewitness News her life's work could be in jeopardy.
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.