Bowling alleys and entertainment venues across Alabama still closed

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PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Managers of businesses across Alabama that are still closed under Gov. Kay Ivey’s safer-at-home order said they are ready to reopen their doors safely.

Oak Mountain Lanes in Pelham offers bowling, laser tag, a high-ropes course, and an arcade center. Tommy Barberini, general manager at the alley, said that normally, Memorial Day weekend would be a good weekend for business. However, his 16-year family business is now struggling and if they can’t reopen soon, they will have to make some really tough decisions.

“We’re down about 225%, so the numbers are staggering, hundreds of thousands of dollars at this point,” Barberini said. “We lost in the first three to four weeks alone over $50,000 in group bookings we had to cancel when things shut down.”

Barberini said they have a plan in place for when they’re allowed to reopen that includes closing every other bowling lane to keep space in between guests. He said they also have a sanitation team whose only job is to constantly clean everything touched.

“We’re going to be right behind everyone and with a high-touch place like ours, that’s the best thing you can do is provide sanitizers, hand sanitizer, gloves, and have someone right there on the floor front that’s right behind everybody and really going through and wiping everything that is touched,” he said.

Barberini said they will limit how many people will play laser tag so they know which vests are being used. They will also ask those bowling to leave their equipment in their lane and the sanitation team will come by and clean off everything.

For Vestavia Bowl, general manager Angela Nance said they have installed protective barriers at their front desk, snack bar, lounge and new bowling ball check out area. Nance said guests will only be able to sit at their assigned lane. She also said when they are allowed to reopen, Vestavia Bowl will start with just the bowling leagues before they reintroduce open bowling.

As for Oak Mountain Lanes, Barberini said this has been tough on his family business that he has poured everything into.

“This is our family business,” he said. “It’s my father’s dream to own a bowling alley and so he built it and asked me to come along for the ride and so I did and then my wife works there, daughter works there and this is the sole income for our family and so when its your own place you pour your heart and soul and that’s what we’ve done for 16 years.”


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