Some entertainment venues begin to reopen in Alabama as Gov. Ivey relaxes restrictions

Oak Mountain Lanes Bowling Alley prepares to reopen

PELHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - While Jefferson County will keep entertainment venues closed for another two weeks, Governor Ivey has given the green light for them to reopen around the rest of the state.

One Shelby County bowling alley isn’t wasting time opening its doors.

Oak Mountain Lanes opened its doors at 5:00 p.m. Friday, and General Manager Tommy Barberini said he’s been preparing for that moment since they had to close more than two months ago.

“I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m all of the above. It’s an absolute rush of emotions. The last 63 days have been highs and lows and everything in between,” Barberini said.

But when Governor Ivey gave the go-ahead to reopen entertainment venues on Thursday, Barberini was ready to reopen his bowling alley.

“I’ve read more CDC website information than I ever have in my entire life in the last two months. Our industry has a Bowling Proprietors Association of America, which is a great resource and tool for us to use. They’ve really been on the forefront of what do bowling centers need to do when they reopen,” Barberini explained.

Barberini said they’ve created an entire subset of employees whose only job will be to clean and sanitize areas used by guests.

“When they’re through, we’re having them leave everything out here on the lanes, and then our sanitation specialists will go to the lanes. They’ll start with disinfecting the shoes. They’ll move on to the chairs. They’ll do the touch screens. They’ll do the balls, and they’ll do the ball returns themselves. And then once all that has been cleaned and sanitized, then they’ll come back and do the tabletop once all of that has been taken off,” Barberini explained.

The facility also has hand sanitizing stations throughout the building and will operate at half capacity to encourage social distancing, but that also means half the revenue.

“We certainly know that it’s going to affect what normal used to look like, but it’s going to be a lot better than normal has been for 63 days,” Barberini said.

Bowlers will use every other lane, only half of the laser tag vests will be used at a time, and lounge area seating has been cut in half.

Barberini said he will not reopen the rope climbing section just yet because that area will be a little more difficult to keep sanitized.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.