Illinois Proprietors Face Unusual Reopening Restrictions

by Bob Johnson 0

 Bowling center owners in Illinois are now being allowed to reopen by Governor J.B. Pritzker, but with perhaps the most unusual limitation yet seen in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Centers may open Friday at 9 a.m., but all will be limited to no more than 50 people at a time for bowling. 

The same limitation applies to an eight-lane center as to a 60-lane center. Thus, an eight-laner could be running at well above normal lane capacity, while a 60-laner would be more like an echo chamber. 

“Restaurants are allowed to fully reopen inside dining with 6-ft. spacing,” noted Henry Barber, proprietor of Hillside Bowl in Hillside, Ill. “Youth and recreational sports are allowed 50% occupancy for participants, with an additional 20% capacity for spectators. Health clubs can have 50% occupancy with 6-ft. spacing. All we want is the same treatment.” 

As a result of the governor’s mandate, numerous proprietors are “doing the math” in order to determine whether reopening would be worthwhile at this point. 

In an online post, Barber provided this link to the state's elected officials page: 

Interested parties can follow the link to find their representatives and express their feelings about the latest phase of reopening in Illinois. 

“Rest assured, we have been working to make changes at all three of our centers to protect our staff and patrons,” Barber added. “When you return, I am sure you will see the changes — including, protective shielding, hand sanitizer stations, touch-less hand dryers and bathroom fixtures, social-distancing signage, lane and ball sanitizing and more. 

“We look forward to seeing everyone, and hope everyone will do their part to help keep everyone safe.”

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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