WNY gym, bowling alley owners thrilled to get next steps toward reopening

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB-TV) – A waiting game is almost over for thousands of businesses and their employees.

Some of the last remaining businesses in New York State to reopen are finally getting the green light. Bowling alleys can open as soon as Monday, August 17, if they are ready.

Gyms got news of a more ambiguous first step Friday, learning from Governor Andrew Cuomo the state will issue reopening guidelines to gym on Monday. No reopening date has been announced yet.

It’s a huge relief for Spare Time Bowling in Cheektowaga.

“Most of us are small, family owned and operated, so we live and die by every day that we’re open,” said owner Dave Williamson.

Spare Time will not reopen on Monday, instead taking a week to go over guidelines, sanitize, and make sure they’re ready to reopen the right way.

The state is requiring half capacity, face coverings, and any food and beverage orders must be brought to that bowler’s lane.

While it’s still overall good news, manager Kurt Williamson will have to try and work things out with bowling leagues, who normally take up the whole place.

“I mean, we only have 12 lanes here, so six out of 12 lanes is about half capacity, so we’re going to make it work and do the best we can,” Kurt said.

Just the news that the state will issue reopening guidelines is good first step to Amy Bueme of Catalyst fitness.

She’s been leading the charge locally, lobbying the Governor to let gyms reopen.

“I think that was our biggest frustration, was just the no communication. So now that we have something to look forward to, and he’s thinking about it, and saying ‘Ok, I’m going to put these restrictions or guidelines, and this is was I’m looking for,’ you know, it’s exciting,” she said.

Eugene Bofill owns REPS Fitness inside Buffalo’s Tri-Main center.

“I’m jubilant. I’m excited beyond words to be able to finally be able to get something open and get something going here,” Bofill said.

He’s accepting the loss and starting from square one.

“It’s been terrible, to put it bluntly. Basically because of everything, I’ve lost most members, I’ve stopped training clients, my trainers have gone other places, so now it’s basically been a ghost town in here,” he said.

But Bofill says he is encouraged by the messages he gets daily asking when he’ll reopen.

“The anticipation is there,” he said. “So I’m pretty sure, and I’m pretty positive that I’m going to get a huge rush of people once I am able to open the doors.”

Erica Brecher is an anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.

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