A bowling supporter fills out a postcard at JAX 60 addressed to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asking to open bowling centers. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV News.
By Jeff Steers
Bowling center all over the state of Michigan have been busy this week.
This, despite the fact they have been closed for nearly five months.
On Wednesday approximately 200 bowling patrons and supporters showed up at the Michigan Capital in support of opening bowling centers.
Friday, bowling centers had patrons fill out postcards to be sent to the governor’s office asking Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to open the centers. Bowling supporters signed postcards Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at JAX 60.
Restrictions by the governor have closed bowling centers since March 16 due to COVID-19.
Management at JAX 60 – a member of the Bowling Centers Association of Michigan – believe bowling centers can be open safely.
And they have proof.
David Small – owner of JAX 60 – also owns four bowling centers in Indiana. Those centers have been open for two months.
“They have been open and successful for two months,” JAX 60 General Manager Josh Solomon said. “Those centers have been successful by following CDC regulations and the rules set forth by the state of Indiana.
“We don’t want to be treated special in Michigan … we want to work with the governor.”
Solomon said regulations like everyone must wear masks into the bowling center and they must be worn at all times – except to eat, drink, and bowl – are simple rules being followed in Indiana. He noted that JAX 60 has added 10 sanitizing stations, updated cleaning policies, and purchased masks for employees and bowlers.
Bowling Centers of Michigan member bowling alleys have not gone quietly. They filed suit asking the governor to open the bowling centers. Solomon said he does not know the date of the court case, but hopes for a breakthrough in early September.
The Michigan Supreme Court agreed earlier in the year to consider a Grand Rapids federal judge’s request to clarify the extent of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s emergency powers.
That case is slated to be heard on Sept. 2.
Solomon said he misses the bowlers and staff members since the center was closed five month ago.
“Our employees and bowlers are like family to me,” Solomon said.
Solomon hopes all 25,000 postcards – filled out at local bowling centers – find the governor’s mailbox in the coming week.
“Each sector needs to be looked at as its own entity,” Solomon said. “What can each business do to help stop the spread of COVID-19?
“I think we can do it better than others.”
Bowling leagues generally start around Labor Day, according to Solomon.
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