Phase 4 in WNY has come and gone — leaving bowling alley owners wondering when it will be their turn to reopen


It’s so quiet inside Manor Lanes on Grand Island Boulevard in Tonawanda, that you can’t hear a pin drop — bowling pins, that is.

It’s a family business, Jim Russo passed it down to his son. Russo is also the president of the Bowling Proprietors Association of Western New York, he says area bowling alleys have been waiting patiently from the state on guidance for reopening … and have been met with silence.

“Please give us an answer on when we can open our facilities,” said Russo. “We have been just down, everybody has been preparing to get back up, we’re taking measures to meet with all of the government specifications, maybe above and beyond.”

A few miles up away, the Tonawanda Bowling Center was preparing to open their doors on July 9th because they thought they were a part of phase 4.

“It’s just loss, loss, loss,” said Mary Chase, general manager at Tonawanda Bowling Center.

The bowling season goes from the fall to the spring, the coronavirus pause order in the state happened in March, which left last season incomplete.

“A lot of bowlers that are waiting to finish their league, to finish their fall season, they don’t care if it’s July, or August they just want to bowl. They just want to finish,” Chase said.

The state is studying the use of filters that can filter out Covid-19 in malls, gyms, and theaters. This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo required that malls have the filter. Bowling alley owners say they don’t know if they’ll be required to do the same in the future.

“Those filters may not even be compatible with the units that we have in our building, another thing is that those filters are extremely expensive,” Russo said.

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