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  • Writer's pictureRich Kenny

Visitors to Forest View Lanes in Temperance will notice several differences to the bowling and enter

Updated: Jul 18, 2020

By Blake Bacho / For Bedford Now

Visitors to Forest View Lanes in Temperance will notice several differences to the bowling and entertainment venue whenever it reopens for business.

Gone are the traditional coin-operated games, and other vending machines that so expertly draw the eye and hand of every person who walks through the doors of the venue on W. Dean Rd. in Temperance. In their place stand state-of-the-art machines designed to disinfect both bowling balls and bowling shoes.

Disposable shoes will be offered for those who don’t feel comfortable using the rentals. Dividers are being installed to provide physical separation between the lanes, and sanitizing wipes will be placed near the touch screens that control the scoreboards.

“When a customer walks in, we’ll clean the equipment as many times as they want us to to make sure it’s disinfected for them,” said Forest View owner Rich Kenny. “We’re doing a lot of things to make sure it’s a safe experience. We’re doing all kinds of process changes to ensure we can provide a great experience for the customer.”

This is bowling in the “new normal” of a world still trying to come to grips with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). But it’s a world that most Michigan bowling centers are not yet permitted to join, as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continues to keep many nonessential businesses closed through her executive orders designed to combat the deadly virus.

“We’ve never seen anything like this before, we’ve never been forced to shut down for any reason,” said Monroe Sport Center owner Shane Held. “It’s been a different year, that’s for sure.”

What’s made life even more difficult for the local alleys has been the proximity to Ohio, where competing centers have been allowed to reopen under additional safety precautions. Business owners such as Held and Kenny have watched Monroe families flock across the border, and they’ve taken their money with them.

Kenny says he’s spoken with some lane owners in Toledo, who said they have had hundreds of bowlers sign up for tournaments this weekend, the first since the centers were allowed to reopen.

“It’s a great sign for bowling, because people are excited for it,” Kenny said. “I think it’s a great sign, and I’m happy for the centers that have opened around us, and the restaurants that have opened around us.”

″(It) has been little bit frustrating knowing that, for instance from my house it’s 12 minutes to get to Toledo where things are pretty much wide open,” added Held. “There are some restrictions of course, but it’s been frustrating and I’m not the only person that feels that way, I’m sure.”

With the guidance of the Bowling Proprietor’s Association of America, Kenny, Held, and other centers in Michigan have been appealing to state officials for permission to return to work. They’re asking for residents to do the same, regardless of what side of the issue they fall on.

“Reach out to the government, whether you support it, don’t support it or want something in the middle,” Kenny said. “Just make your voice heard.”

Held is confident that whenever the local lanes reopen, the bowlers will return in droves. And he is equally confident that centers like his can provide a safe and enjoyable experience for them.

“It’s almost like bowling was taken from us this year,” he said. “Bowling has become a night out for people, they enjoy the camaraderie between everybody. I can’t even tell you how many people I’ve spoken to, and they can’t believe how much they miss bowling.

“Really that’s what it’s all about is good, clean fun.”

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