Fayetteville bowling alley uses loophole to stay open, but still struggles

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- As North Carolina remains one of the few states where gyms, movie theaters, and bowling alleys must remain closed, businesses are finding loopholes in the state-mandated order to stay afloat.

For more than a month, B&B Bowling Lanes in Fayetteville has been running on half their staff and fluctuating hours.

Nancy Schenk, the owner of the long-time, family-owned business, said they've been able to do so because of a day-camp provision. In it, it allows some businesses, who are forced to stay closed, to offer programs for children and teens, if they follow CDC guidelines to combat COVID-19.

Schenk said it's been important to her to be a good citizen and act within the laws, but it's also become necessary to garner some sort of revenue.

While the loopholes helped, they are nowhere near what they need to sustain themselves long-term.

"Unfortunately, that model is truly a day-camp model and just doesn't, um, work now that, even though it's virtual, that school's back in," Schenk said.

B&B Bowling Lanes said it is still losing money but needs to stay open to pay bills that don't stop.

"Your health insurance is still due, the employees that you've kept on, um, you're still paying half their taxes and workers comp, even if you've reduced those people," Schenk said.

Schenk told ABC11 that she has tried applying for the recent state-approved $15 million Job Retention Grant Program; however, she doesn't meet the current requirements, which include: maintaining 90 percent of staffers and not receiving any of the Paycheck Protection Program loans.

"Expectations of the ability to get any money from the North Carolina government are completely ridiculous," Schenk said.

As Schenk's group, The Bowling Proprietors Association of the Carolinas and Georgia continues its ongoing lawsuit against the state, she hopes the Supreme Court will rule in favor of bowling alleys on Sept. 1.

If not, her next step is hoping and praying Gov. Roy Cooper includes their business in the next phase on Sept. 11.
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