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Bowling alleys remain closed despite owners pushing to open with precautions

"It's reached a point where it is scary,” said Doug Boomsma, owner of Hudsonville Lanes
Posted at 5:40 PM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 17:53:13-04

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. — Bowling centers across Michigan are pushing to re-open with precautions in place ahead of their typical season of league play.

It's obviously been a tough year for Michigan businesses. While many of the businesses that were initially forced to close due to the pandemic have been able to reopen in some capacity, the folks over at Hudsonville Lanes haven't been so lucky.

“I can remember when we closed in the middle of March, talking just a few weeks later even... we’ll be open in April, we’ll be open in May, we’ll be open in June," said Doug Boomsma, owner of Hudsonville Lanes.

"Now were almost 6 months out and it's reached a point where it is scary.”

With no projected date to reopen, it has been difficult for Boomsma and other bowling center owners across the state, to plan for the future. Boomsma has since decided to take to social media to make sure his voice is heard on the matter.

"We've been blessed for 28 years to be part of this community and blessed to have this business," Boomsma said in a video posted to the Facebook page for Hudsonville Lanes.

"Exactly 164 days ago, we were actually asked to close down and at this time, we're still closed down."

While there have been rumblings that Governor Whitmer would soon announce a timeline for bowling centers to reopen, she has so far been silent on the situation.

Several Michigan bowling centers, including Spectrum Lanes in Wyoming, recently filed a lawsuit against the Governor, urging her to immediately allow them to reopen with a list of safety precautions in place. The lawsuit has since been dismissed.

“We keep hearing from our people, when you open, let us know, well be there. And it's so touching to hear that, but we don't know what to tell them,” Boomsma told FOX 17 Tuesday afternoon.

Part of the problem right now is the fact that bowling alleys have been lumped into the same category as other entertainment-type facilities, like arcades, in the Governor's executive orders.

“If you look in most bowling centers, we have a lot of room in our concourse areas. As far as social distancing goes, we have an easy 6-foot capacity between tables," Boomsma said.

Bowling centers now remain closed as we head towards Labor Day. The typical bowling league season begins the Tuesday after the holiday. Folks like Doug Boomsma are hoping to hear some good news from the Governor before league participants head out-of-state to compete.

“We're in the people business. We can't afford to not take care of the people that come in. So the first thing on our minds is going to be getting people back," he said.

"Second is going to be, we're going to take good care of them. Just give us an opportunity. We haven't had that opportunity.”

You can find out more about Hudsonville Lanes and stay connected when they do open back up at their website or Facebook page.