Bowling for a cause. (Photo by Ed Shin)

Bowling alleys have belatedly been approved to reopen from the coronavirus shutdown in New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.

Bowling alleys will be able to operate at a 50 percent maximum occupancy limit starting Monday, but bowlers must wear masks, maintain social distancing, stay at their assigned lanes, and an empty lane must be left between groups, according to the governor’s office.

“We will be able to open bowling alleys across the state with strict safety protocols in place, providing a level of fun and recreation at a time when New Yorkers really need it,” Cuomo said.

Bowling alleys statewide were closed along with most other businesses to curb the spread of coronavirus when its spread peaked in New York in March. But bowling alleys were among a handful of industries, including gyms and movie theaters, that were left out of the fourth and final phase of the reopening plan. Bowling alley owners have been pressuring the state to let them reopen.

“Some in government may consider bowling nonessential, or not important enough to reopen right now,” Chris Keller, owner of The All Star in Riverhead, said earlier this month. “But we are the fiber of many communities.”

In addition to the social distancing and mask rules, bowling alleys must thoroughly clean and disinfect shared or rented equipment between each use and all food service must follow all state-issued guidance, state officials said.
 

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