'Let us reopen' say owners of bowling alleys on Long Island

LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- Owners of bowling alleys on Long Island said Friday they are ready to reopen safely and are asking New York State officials to allow them to do so.

Joe LaSpina, the owner of Coram Country Lanes, said he has developed 30 pages of guidelines on how he can safely reopen including customer safety, employee safety and exceeding CDC guidelines.

"We're ready to embrace capacity limits. We're ready to embrace social distancing. We're not going to do this recklessly," he said.

Chris Keller, the owner of The All Star in Riverhead, has made several safety changes at his bowling alley, including installing wooden barriers between the benches, a UVC light sanitizing station to disinfect the bowling balls and shoes and a machine to do temperature checks on every person who walks into the building.

"It's time for the Governor to have trust in us. It's time to rehire our 8,700 employees. It's time to allow people to enjoy our wonderful sport again," he said.

Keller said he understands how dangerous the coronavirus is: his father died of the coronavirus in April and his mother almost did as well.

"Please don't let this take our business also," he said, pleading to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Various elected officials from Long Island attended a press conference with LaSpina and Keller Friday. They called on Governor Cuomo to speed up the reopening of businesses in the state.

"I don't know about you and where you shop, but I've been in stores where I've been elbow-to-elbow with people reaching for wrenches, reaching for screwdrivers, reaching for lightbulbs and everything else," said New York State Assemblyman Joe DeStefano (R-Medford). "Why is this any different?" he said of the bowling alleys.

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Doug Dwyer, a bowling coach at Longwood High School, said he worries about what the alley closures may mean for his older students trying to get college scholarships.

"You're talking over a thousand games of practice that some of these kids have missed," he said.

Rachel Hines, who attends Longwood and is a nationally-ranked bowler, said she is worried about her ability to get a college scholarship at this point. She usually bowls everyday and hasn't been able to since March.

"I want to practice again," she said.

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