Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Question of the day
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      About     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact Rich Miller
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Question of the day

Monday, Jun 29, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Illinois State Bowling Proprietors Association President Bill Brennan

With the State of Illinois poised to enter Phase 4 of the Governor’s “Restore Illinois” plan, 270 bowling centers, most whom are members of the Illinois Bowling Proprietors’ Association, are extremely excited to open their doors for business. These mostly-independent small businesses have gone to great lengths during the 100 days of the stay-at-home order, preparing their staff and facilities to be the safest destinations for recreation throughout Illinois. Online education, in-person staff training, the purchase of PPE, installation of barriers, and the development of a comprehensive list of best practices and procedures are just a few of the steps centers have taken that make them confident in safeguarding everyone who comes to the lanes

Unfortunately, with the news that bowling centers would be restricted to the extremely limited number of 50 guests in our facilities, many centers are now determining if reopening is even an option. Small to larger centers all share the traits of having large areas to facilitate social distancing, and these facilities have never been better equipped to clean and sanitize high-traffic touch points. Even before the stay-at-home order, the ISBPA’s members had evolved their operations to prevent the transmission of the virus, including Limiting group size, voluntarily reducing capacity, discouraging spectators, and the thorough cleaning and sanitizing of all shared equipment and spaces.

It’s really disheartening that the State of Illinois doesn’t believe that the bowling centers can reopen at a safe 50 percent of our granted capacity with the even heightened awareness and emphasis of safety and cleanliness. The fact that casinos, fitness clubs, gyms, indoor recreation facilities, and other similar location-based industries can open at this percentage of capacity bewilders the bowling community’s business owners. Expecting facilities that have tens of thousands of square feet to even pay their overhead with a maximum of 50 guests is preposterous. What’s worse is throughout the shutdown, numerous phone and camera calls were made in helping shape what Phase 4 looked like for bowling in Illinois. All in attendance knew our emphasis and expectations of safety and sanitation, and all regarded the granting of 50 percent capacity in our centers was a safe and business sound compromise.

* I asked about the viral load issue…

We have centers in membership that range in 4 lanes to 84 lanes. 50 people inside these facilities would look drastically different. Our centers are large enough that if we were granted 50 percent capacity we could responsibly distance groups of customers from each other. The fact that casinos and fitness centers, which have many more high traffic areas and touch points, and are allowed a 50 percent capacity and we are not isn’t logical.

He also sent the guidelines that were distributed to owners. Click here.

* The Question: Should bowling centers be granted the same 50 percent capacity limits as casinos? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…

bike trails


  1. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:31 am:

    What’s the capacity limit? Half of what the Fire Marshall says?

    That’s a lot of people and a bowling alley will still look packed. Do they mean only allowing to operate half of their lanes? Like — one group of bowlers per ball return? That might be okay. No more than 4 people assigned to a ball return? That might be okay.

    But when we start talking about 50% of capacity, I have a feeling they mean “business as usual.”

    Are they bringing back the league nights? Socially distancing during a league night would be almost impossible at any bowling alley I’ve seen league night.

    This is a giant moral hazard for the owners of bowling alleys, movie theaters, restaurants, bars, etc.

    If we listen to these business associations we might as well make our goal “Texas by August.”

  2. - NotRich - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:33 am:

    DCEO and Bain & Company did the same thing to the movie theatre owners. Multiple discussions, about being able to safely open based on size and square footage. Bowling and movie theaters were blindsided by the Gov’s guidelines, yet casinos get what they want with 50 PERCENT not 50 people..

  3. - Contrarian - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:33 am:

    The problem is when you send out nonsensical regulations, with big loopholes for similarly situate others, makes people stop paying attention altogether.

  4. - Frank talks - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:37 am:

    Bowling alleys I would say are more spread out than restaurants. If they put partitions between the seating areas they can easily socially distance in the facility. Plus go every other lane would make sense.
    If casinos can open these alley’s should be able to open as well.

    No sharing of ball returns, disinfecting lane tables after usage, electronic scoring only, stay in your designated lane area, wait staff only bringing food and drink to lanes, disinfectant and wipes by ball racks for ball choice, mask inside building except when at your lane, etc etc.

    It can all be done, just safely and with restrictions similar to everyone else.

  5. - Cheryl 44 - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:37 am:

    I voted no because I think casinos should have more restrictions.

  6. - Pundent - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:38 am:

    Voted no. But that’s largely due to seeing the casino and fitness center rules as too lax. We’ve seen the spikes in CA, AZ, FL and other states. Reopening only to have to close will only prolong our ability to control the virus.

  7. - phocion - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:41 am:

    Voted yes. The Pritzker administration appears to be lax on their rules when it comes to the well-connected or hyper-tax revenue generators. Or they are overly rigid for those without clout.

  8. - Bob Loblaw - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:42 am:

    Voted No. The businesses just want to get that camel’s nose under the tent, and none of these rules mean anything without enforcement. Just driving around, it’s clear many businesses are open, doing whatever they want without fear of consequence

  9. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:45 am:

    Smokey, this is not ‘Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.

  10. - Nuke the Whales - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:46 am:

    ==If we listen to these business associations we might as well make our goal “Texas by August.”==
    I love this and would like to steal it.

    To my “no” vote. The amount of sitting one does at a restaurant or even a casino versus the amount of moving around one does at a bowling alley, banquet hall, other group complaining about 50 people as the rules were for months ahead of Phase 4, etc.

    Plus, with casinos, the amount of control the state has to enforce such rules and the amount of social buy-in would be substantially greater than a bowling alley.

    Finally, I don’t believe that many of the “we can re-open if we do X, Y, and Z,” have any intention of doing those things.

  11. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:49 am:

    Humans have a long history of doing nearly everything wrong during periods of uncertainty…doing it again won’t work…again.

  12. - A Guy - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:50 am:

    Anything that cuts the noise of a bowling alley in half would be fine with me.

  13. - AndyIllini - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:51 am:

    Voted yes, largely because of the “same as the casinos” part of the question. It would seem strange to me to grant to be more lenient on a casino than a local bowling alley.

  14. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:54 am:

    ===The problem is when you send out nonsensical regulations===

    You’re assuming they’re going to follow whatever regulations are made. What they’re looking for is something that will mitigate any liability for which they may be on on the hook.

    “Patrons weren’t wearing masks” is a different claim than “Theater knowingly sold more seats than were permitted.”

    They can blame their victims for mask issues, etc. They can’t blame the victims for capacities, and our local authorities have decided to do nothing regarding public health in our communities.

  15. - Wylie Coyote - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:54 am:

    Sounds like the bowling centers better start writing some checks like the casino folks.

  16. - dbk - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 11:57 am:

    I don’t agree with casinos or fitness centers reopening, so by logical extension I don’t agree with bowling alleys reopening either.

    Cf. -If we listen to these business associations we might as well make our goal “Texas by August.” -

    Yep, that’s what will happen. And if that happens, then K-12 schools can bid the in-person school year good-bye before it starts up.

  17. - Annonin' - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 12:01 pm:

    We are ready for some bowlin’ in IL long overdue

  18. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 12:02 pm:

    I voted yes…

    … if the public abides.

  19. - Flapdoodle - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 12:10 pm:

    OW — nicely done

  20. - Excitable Boy - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 12:15 pm:

    I’m just astounded they have an association.

  21. - Rasselas - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 12:19 pm:

    No, for the same reason as many - the rules for casinos and restaurants are too lax. Bowling is an indoor sport (cut your snickering), not a passive, sit-down event. Their analogy to casinos and restaurants is false. And the gym rules are also too lax.

  22. - Captain Obvious - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 12:20 pm:

    Agree with Wylie. Money talks, other things walk here in Illinois.

  23. - DuPage Michigander - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 12:26 pm:

    Spacing every other lane, requiring masks, sanitizing practices, encouraging hand washing, implementing a reservation system…I see many opportunities for allowing 50% capacity - especially at the larger facilities.

  24. - Not a Billionaire - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 12:29 pm:

    Voted yes for same reason Rasselas and others voted no. The good thing about stage 4 now is the rise might stop the real disasters in fall. Also noticed no one has rushed back to the downtown Chicago offices.

  25. - Not a Billionaire - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    CNN went to a Houston hospital to meet people struggling to survive . There was a bar owner . His bar is closed indefinitely…..

  26. - nols - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 12:36 pm:

    If casinos and fitness centers are at 50% bowling should be the same. If anything I believe the bowling centers will be better at maintaining social distancing and sanitizing than these others.

  27. - Aamalia - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 12:37 pm:

    Casino rules are bad and should be repealed. no more stupid rulings.

  28. - "Old Timer Dem" - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 12:52 pm:

    Yes, Bowlers should be allowed on every other lane and practice social distancing protocol. It is doable. Bowling alleys won’t be able to begin their fall and winter leagues with the current guidelines in place. Many will go out of business.

  29. - Back to the Future - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 12:54 pm:

    Pritzker was in the Casino business so it should not be a surprise that he favors that group over bowling folks.
    The Bowling Center industry would probably do a better job, is “family friendly“ and, as far as I know, no one committed suicide because of a bowling debt.
    Treating Bowling Centers this way is unfair.

  30. - JP - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 12:55 pm:

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

  31. - OneMan - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 12:58 pm:

    Voted no, based off of my trip to the grocery store and the inability of people to wear a mask correctly (both employees and customers) I am not convinced at this point people can be trusted in more social indoor settings.

    That being said, I think we are at most 90 days away from things getting such that we may end up just saying F– it, and going for herd immunity (I do not think this is a good idea) but I can see it happening.

  32. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 1:02 pm:

    ===going for herd immunity===

    Except there is no proof that immunity lasts for those who’ve caught the covid.

  33. - olddog - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 1:04 pm:

    Voted no. I don’t know enough about casinos or bowling alleys to have an informed opinion, but I do know enough about IDPH and the health care professionals that were consulted in setting Illinois’ guidelines to trust the process. We need to listen to the doctors and the scientists.

  34. - The Way I See It - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 1:20 pm:

    I actually believe that this is manageable. One group on every ball return is sensible. The layout of the bowling alley makes social distancing easier than just about everywhere else.

  35. - Henry Francis - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 1:31 pm:

    We gotta give the skinheads something to do.

  36. - Demoralized - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 2:40 pm:

    ==I think we are at most 90 days away from things getting such that we may end up just saying F– it==

    I think a good chunk of the populace is already there which is why you are seeing nobody abiding by the rules of reopening in some places and why cases are once again spiking out of control.

  37. - revvedup - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    The IBPA’s new song (sung to the theme from Laverne and Shirley)
    “Give us any rule, we’ll break it.
    Give us any chance, we’ll take it.
    We’re gon-na make Corona surge,
    Doin’ it our way

    Gotta bowl no matter what now,
    Even if we shut our towns down,
    We’ve got-ta spread Corona now,
    Doin’ it our way

    There’s nothing we won’t try,
    Never heard the word ‘pandemic’
    This time, they’re no stopping us

    When we go back to Phase 3
    Then we’ll just file bankruptcy
    And we’ll fill the ICU’s
    With me and youuuuu….

  38. - 4 percent - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 2:55 pm:

    I hate to say this because I bowled as a kid but when is the last time you went into a bowling alley and it was actually at 50 percent capacity? Tons of them have closed because of a lack of business over the past decade.

  39. - Downstate Illinois - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 4:49 pm:

    Since we obviously aren’t following science but arbitrary rules made up people who find bowing beneath them we shouldn’t be surprised.

  40. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 5:11 pm:

    Bowling should have been abolished when they went to a 36 week season.

  41. - NoMoreMC - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 7:12 pm:

    Voted yes. As the IBPA said, bowling centers vary greatly in size, so a fixed number of people doesnt work. The tiny 4 lane house in Frankfort would be packed with 50 people. At the 84 lane house in Addison, 50 people could dissapear. This is not a 1 size fits all proposition. I worked in the industry for a decade. You could easily spread people out. Maybe not 50 percent of fire capacity, butlimit teams to trios on league night so you’d have 6 per pair of lanes. For open bowling, keep the same limit. Spread the tables out and keep the hand sanitizer flowing. Very few bowling centers are full on a regular basis, so it would be highly unlikely that any place is going to be turning people away with reasonable occupancy limits.

  42. - RDB - Monday, Jun 29, 20 @ 8:55 pm:

    No, simply because per my limited time inside bowling alleys, many are often germ pits, without much cleaning. Some of these facilities need to hire a cleaning crew before reopening,

  43. - eb - Tuesday, Jun 30, 20 @ 2:51 pm:

    I voted yes, as Bowling is an IHSA sport as well as NCAA sport and club. These centers are needed to compete and need to placed in the proper category, indoor sports.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Isabel's afternoon roundup
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Another supplement to today's edition (Updated)
* Question of the day
* Illinois State Library closed after emailed bomb threat
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Campaign news
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Illinois *not* spared from expanded UAW strike
* Bailey back to his election-denying ways
* Today's quotable
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live coverage
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...



Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller