Bowling alley ready to get back in the game after being closed for months

66-year-old family business is ready with New Normal guidelines in place

WESTCHESTER, Fla. – It’s been six months since COVID-19 forced Bird Bowl bowling center in the Westchester neighborhood of Miami to temporarily shut down.

Susan Coile, the program director at Bird Bowl, said the shutdown was devasting.

“We have a small group of employees, 60-65,” she said.

Nearly all of those were laid off due to the pandemic. But now, the 66-year-old business is preparing to welcome customers again as part of the phase 2 reopening in Miami-Dade County.

Coile said it is going to be a lot of hard work to keep people in line.

“No socializing, no high fives,” she said.

Along with bowling alleys, movie theaters, concert and playhouses, auditoriums, arcades, casinos and other indoor amusement facilities are now allowed to reopen in Miami-Dade County at 50 percent capacity while following new normal guidelines.

These are the businesses that were allowed to open on Sept. 18 as Miami-Dade County headed into Phase 2. (WPLG)

It’s a step forward that, depending who you ask, is either long overdue or still too soon.

Yovanny Dominguez said it’s time to “get back to being human beings. Socializing. If something is open and you have underlying health issues, stay home.”

Diana Escobar isn’t so sure. “I think it can be a risk, just because I don’t know how clean you can keep movie theaters.”

At Bird Bowl, customers will play every other lane to cut down on contact—and are required to wear a mask at all times unless they are eating or drinking.

“I hope tremendously that they follow the guidelines because we’re going to be on them like glue if they don’t,” Coile said, adding that the livelihood of the business depends on people following the rules.

“We’ll turn your lane off because we can’t afford to close down,” Coile said.

Under the county guidelines these types of businesses were allowed to open Friday but that doesn’t mean everyone is prepared to do so. Many businesses are still figuring how they want to operate under the New Normal.

So, don’t assume that your favorite entertainment venue is already open. It’s best to check before you head out.

[RELATED: Download Miami-Dade County’s New Normal handbook]

About the Author:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.