Judge rules bowling alleys in NC can reopen

Bowling alley (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps / Andy J. Orozco)

NORTH CAROLINA (WWAY) — A North Carolina Superior Court judge on Tuesday ruled that bowling alleys can reopen in the state, despite Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order to keep them closed.

In the ruling, Judge James L. Gale said the members of the North Carolina Bowling Proprietors Association, Inc. can reopen immediately as long as they comply with a number of guidelines.

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The ruling said that the bowling alleys must limit the number of patrons allowed inside, patrons and workers must wear masks, at least one empty lane must be maintained between each group and patrons other than immediate family members cannot share a bowling ball.

Other guidelines include:

  • All bowling balls shall be removed from the lane concourse area after usage
  • When allowing a patron to choose a bowling ball for use, once touched by a patron, the ball shall be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before being allowed to be touched by another patron
  • All unnecessary touchpoints throughout the concourse shall be eliminated, and those that cannot be eliminated, included seating areas, will be wiped between use by groups and thoroughly cleaned and sanitized each 24-hour period
  • Hand sanitizer stations shall be made available throughout each establishment
  • Any employee shall have access to at least two safety classes which teach how to safely work and provide a safe environment for patrons
  • Social distancing throughout the venue shall be encouraged and enforced
  • All employees must answer a health questionnaire and have their temperature taken daily prior to working. Any employee showing symptoms or with a fever shall not be allowed to enter the establishment
  • Adequate precautions shall be taken to guard against the presence of any employee or patron known or reasonably believed either to be exhibiting symptoms of infection with the COVID-19 virus or to have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus within the preceding 14 days

Cooper responded to the order, asking the court for a stay until the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court of North Carolina may decide the appeal.

Governor Roy Cooper’s spokesperson Ford Porter shared the following statement in response to the court ruling:

“Hospitalizations and positive cases are reaching record highs while the Governor works to get schools open and prevent the state from going backward on restrictions. The Governor will immediately appeal this ruling that harms both of these efforts.”