Back on the Lanes! Governor Cuomo Gives Bowling Centers a Green Light

Date Posted: August 15th, 2020

Written by Angelo L Corradino

Albany, NY - During a conference call on Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York State will allow many venues including museums, aquariums, gyms and bowling centers to get back into action.

Closed since St. Patrick’s Day, bowling centers will be allowed to re-open beginning Monday, August 17. Centers will only be allowed 50% capacity with face coverings and social distancing required.  In addition, every other lane must be closed and food service must follow state guidelines.

“Yesterday was an exciting day for bowling in New York State,” Frank Wilkinson, Proprietor of Rab’s Country Lanes in Staten Island said.  “It's been a long 5 months, and Monday we get to get back to bowling. Proprietors throughout the state have worked tirelessly to advocate, and tell our story that our facilities are a safe environment for our communities to get away from everyday life! I couldn't be prouder of our industry and more excited to get back to the lanes!”

The announcement comes just a few weeks before the upcoming fall season is scheduled to begin and the centers will now need to figure out how to make the leagues work with the new requirements.

For their part USBC amended rules allowing leagues and tournaments to compete on one lane during the pandemic. Additionally, bowlers will be allowed to use isopropyl alcohol, more commonly known as rubbing alcohol, to clean their bowling ball during competition. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists isopropyl alcohol as an approved disinfectant for use against COVID-19.

Back in May Chad Murphy, USBC Executive director said, “As bowling centers around the country are reopening, USBC intends to give operators the most flexibility possible to resume bowling within their local guidelines.” He continued, “We have been listening to proprietors and members as they prepare to resume certified play and made these changes based on that input. Our goal is to facilitate bowling again in a way that meets the need locally and USBC is ready to quickly consider and activate additional changes based on feedback from centers and associations.”

USBC has temporarily waived USBC Playing Rules 106a, 106b, 320a and 320b, which state two lanes must be used for competition and bowlers must alternate lanes – bowling five frames on each lane of the pair. It also waived the requirement that both lanes must be used for a bowler to be eligible for awards and average recognition.

The full guidelines for the centers to re-open:

🎳 50 percent maximum occupancy limit.

🎳 Face coverings and social distancing required at all times.

🎳 Every other lane must be closed.

🎳 Patrons need to stay with the party at their assigned lane.

🎳 Thorough cleaning & disinfection of shared or rented equipment between each use will be required.

🎳 All food service must follow all state-issued guidance.

While bowling can get back to action the centers will still need to find a way to make things work for the new normal. There will be some bumps in the road for bowlers and management to navigate before we can all get back to the game we love.

“Bowling centers are very large spaces and have great opportunities for social distancing,” Wilkinson continued.  “The requirement for operating every other lane is certainly helpful to force distancing in our centers.  While this is a challenge for our business models long term, we are excited to have the ability to re-open and provide a safe environment for everyone to enjoy their favorite sport!”

More guidelines are expected Monday from the Governor’s office, hopefully the centers can figure out what that will mean for leagues and tournaments by then. Most centers are planning to reopen at some point on Monday, if you are looking to bowl please contact your local center for the hours of operation and requirements to come in and bowl.

The NYS USBC and NYSBPA will continue to monitor the guidelines and try to figure what this means for competitive bowling in New York State. Any updates will be posted on If you have any questions or concern please feel free to contact your local association or NYSUSBC at


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