SCHENECTADY – With numerous changes constantly occurring throughout the week because of new regulations, all of the Capital Region bowling centers are now in a holding pattern because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of late Tuesday night, two of the three Schenectady USBC bowling centers, Boulevard Bowl and Sportsman’s Bowl, had closed. Towne Bowling Academy was open on a limited basis, but an order issued Wednesday from Governor Andrew Cuomo directed all local bowling centers to close by 8 p.m. Thursday.
“We know we can’t bowl, and we’re close to the end of the season for all these centers,” Schenectady USBC president Bill Nolan said. “I feel badly for the proprietors. This close to the end of the season, those revenues are really going to pinch. Hopefully, this is only going to be for a relatively short period of time. Possibly at some point in time we can finish our season.”
Nolan said league officers now have some logistics to consider.
“The next thing is how leagues will handle their final standings. Hopefully, we can get clarification on that from national [the USBC],” Nolan explained. “There’s a lot of money sitting in bank accounts that bowlers have put in their prize funds. We need to figure out what to do with the money and how to finish all the leagues, whenever that will be.”
Boulevard Bowl, the largest local center with 40 lanes, announced over the weekend that it will close down completely, including leagues, open play and tournaments, for two weeks. It also shut down its restaurant until further notice. The New York State USBC announced that it canceled all NYS USBC events, including the New York State USBC Open Championship scheduled for six weekends in April and May, at Boulevard.
Sportsman’s Bowl was open for all leagues with fewer than 50 people – the state-mandated limited for public gatherings – through Tuesday afternoon’s league play. After that, general manager Paul Adkins closed down the facility until further notice.
“Right now, we are closed down for the rest of the week,” Adkins said by telephone while overseeing some last-minute deliveries. “We are taking it on a day-by-day — or hour-by-hour — basis right now. Whatever the governor and the president want is what we’re doing.
“I did this following our last league on Tuesday,” Adkins continued. “They are recommending 50 people or less, and the president is calling for 10 people or less in a gathering. Right now, I’m closing the place for the safety of our bowlers, our staff and our family.”
Sportsman’s major leagues already had voted on an individual basis to postpone their competitions for a week or two. Sportsman’s Majors league, which bowls on Monday nights, the Capital District All Star league, which rolls on Thursdays, and the Vitalo Classic, which competes on Saturday nights, all voted to postpone their leagues for a week or two before Adkins’ announcement late Tuesday.
Boulevard Bowl announced its temporary closing earlier in the week. The center was originally going to keep its restaurant open, but eventually decided against that.
Towne Bowling Academy’s major leagues, the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial City League Monday nights and the Reis Group Kim Brown Memorial Mixed Doubles league on Wednesday nights, each voted to postpone their leagues on a week-to-week basis to start. The Towne Majors, which bowls on Tuesday nights, made a similar announcement.
Towne Bowling Academy proprietor Marty Capullo Jr. originally let his league officers decide if they wanted to continue bowling, and all of them, including the major league officials, decided not to bowl. Capullo, however, was going to keep his facility open on a limited basis to accommodate a few special outings this weekend, but the latest directive from Cuomo changed that.
Capullo explained that his business, like every small business throughout the country, is being hurt by the pandemic.
“We need a certain amount of weeks from our league bowlers to make a living in this business,” Capullo said. “But most of the leagues have been good and have told me they will finish up their leagues once we all get back to bowling.”
All three of the Albany USBC bowling establishments – Del Lanes, East Greenbush Bowling Center and Town & Country Lanes, had already announced they are closing for a minimum of one or two weeks during the pandemic. Troy USBC centers, including Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy, Green Island Lanes, Cohoes Arena, Spare Time Latham, Spare Time Clifton Park and City Sports Grille in Clifton Park, Hilltop Bowl, Hi-Way Recreation in Wynantskill and Hometown Lanes in Mechanicville, had announced they were also shutting down, as are Kelly’s Imperial Lanes in Amsterdam, Arterial Lanes in Gloversville, Perry Lanes in Johnstown, and Middleburgh Lanes are also closed voluntarily or because of local orders.
As of early Wednesday afternoon, Saratoga Strike Zone in Saratoga Springs and Iroquois Lanes in Canajoharie were open, but will need to close.