For two months, the shoes have not been worn and the balls have not been thrown.
Kevin Clark watched the empty lanes of the Golden Mile Bowling Center.
But now, as the first step in Saskatchewan’s reopening roadmap, Queen City bowlers can join the rest of the province playing again.
“People want to go back and they want things to be done. We try to hit as hard as possible, ”said Clark, who manages the bowling center.
Steps were taken specifically for Regina and the region when COVID-19 cases began to increase in March and throughout April. However, people from other parts of the province were allowed to continue bowling.
Clark decided to reopen on Monday, admitting it was a slow time of year for the center with the temperatures warming and more and more people enjoying the outdoors.
His phone does not reflect this. Clark said over the May long weekend he was constantly getting calls from people wondering if and when they could come back.
March 27 was the last time the center was open, the last time someone physically took a bowling ball and threw it down the lanes, he said.
At Glencairn Bolodrome, it’s not the pins but the business that has been dismantled.
“When this all started, it was probably going to be our best year in over 40 years to be the worst we’ve ever had,” said co-owner Shelley Baer.
She said the bolodrome would also be open on Monday. Not only will it be a challenge to let people know they can come back, but Baer also said she realizes some will still be afraid to come back.
She needs these customers for the health of her business.
“I don’t know if we could take another year of this,” Baer said.
The Bolodrome and Golden Mile rely heavily on the league’s bowlers to keep their businesses afloat as it is a guaranteed source of income every week.
This is especially important for Baer, as there is a full restaurant attached to his establishment.
It’s more than just a sport for many of its regulars. It’s a place to connect or reconnect.
“It’s been a social life for these guys, for so many years,” Baer said.
Clark agreed that the social aspect was also of primary importance to him.
“This is what we need,” he said. “We need people who want to come and have fun and have their children’s birthday parties here and have their Christmas parties here.”
For now, the two bowling centers will face a capacity limit until these measures are relaxed in the following stages.