Another day, another rash of postponement and closure announcements throughout the bowling community in response to COVID-19.
On Tuesday afternoon, the PBA informed its membership that all tournament activity--including PBA, PBA50 and PBA Regional Tour action--has been postponed beginning today "to help prevent the spread of COVID-19." The announcement noted that, "The safety of our players, our fans, and our staff is--and always will be--our top priority."
In its message to PBA members, the PBA emphasized, "Our players and fans are at the heart of the PBA. And we want to do our part to keep everyone safe during this unusual and challenging time."
In the PBA's release on the matter, PBA CEO Colie Edison advised that, "This is a completely unforeseen, unprecedented issue of global concern," adding that, "The PBA greatly appreciates the understanding and cooperation of its players, business partners, tournament hosts and all other parties impacted as we try to do our part in keeping everyone as safe as we can."
Also postponed is the PBA Playoffs, which were set to start April 6 at Bowlero Norco in Norco, Calif., as well as the PBA Draft, which had been scheduled to take place March 15 during WSOB XI at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas.
The PBA advised today that announcements as to the resumption of the three "animal pattern" events conducted as part of WSOB XI, which saw their match play and TV finals postponed last week, will be made "as circumstances dictate." That postponement decision was made, the PBA reiterated today, to allow "all competitors, including several international bowlers, to return home before federal airline restrictions took effect."
This evening, the United States Bowling Congress, which previously had postponed the start of the 2020 Open and Women's Championships to May 1, announced that date now has been pushed back tentatively to May 23. Get those details here. For our previous reporting on postponements of marquee bowling events such as the USBC Open Championships, the USBC Masters, the USBC Convention, the BBIA Convention and more, go here and here.
The High Roller events scheduled for this summer and fall, including the Military Team Classic set to be held Aug. 5-25 and the Columbus Day Senior Team Classic scheduled to be underway Oct. 10-16, will proceed as scheduled.
"We will be in touch with participants if anything changes that would cause us to make any adjustments to those events," High Roller Inc. President Brad Edelman wrote in an email. "Our top priority is always the health and safety of the High Roller staff, participants and their guests, sponsors, and the host property. While the COVID-19 pandemic is all-new territory for us, we will do the right thing for all concerned."
Elsewhere around the bowling industry, Bowlero, which operates approximately 300 centers throughout the United States, announced that is is closing temporarily all of its centers for the next 15 days starting today. "We want you to have fun, but your safety is our first priority," read the announcement on Bowlero.com.
Bowling center closures continued on a more local basis as well. In Albuquerque, N.M., Skidmore's Holiday Bowl announced that, effective immediately, it will temporarily close its doors in accordance with "the Public Health Emergency Order to Limit Mass Gatherings Due to COVID-19." Maple Family Centers announced that as of yesterday evening at 5 p.m., all four of its New York centers would temporarily close their doors, necessitating the postponement of all leagues "until further notice."
Per an updated mandate restricting gatherings to nine or fewer people issued by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and the closure of all bars and restaurants statewide, Bowling Centers Association of Wisconsin (BCAW) Executive Director Yvonne Bennett reported that, "The BCAW office will be open on a limited basis for the remainder of the week and next week, but we are anticipating a potential temporary closure in the near future."
In Detroit, the Bowling Showcase News announced that, "With everything happening, we will not be publishing an April edition ... With bowling centers closed and who knows when they may reopen, nobody would be reading the newspaper," Mark Martin of the Metro Detroit USBC Association wrote in an email.
Keep checking back with BowlersJournal.com or our Facebook or Twitter platforms for further updates on COVID-19's ongoing impact on the bowling industry.