The local bowling scene took a hard hit a year ago with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the outlook is significantly brighter now for a social sport that means so much to so many in the community.
“It’s been a rough year, but it’s getting better,” said Natalie Offill, president of both Diamond Lanes South and Diamond Lanes Midtown in Owensboro. “We’re still at reduced capacity, 60%, but that’s certainly better than it was in the beginning.
“Participation has picked up in open play and I’ve found that people are definitely looking for that social outlet after having limited social contact during a large stretch of the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, league play — which runs from late August until April — is ongoing.
“We’ve been able to conduct our league play, but with the social-distancing requirements, of course, it’s been more spread out than in the past,” Offill said. “And, we’re still under a mask mandate.”
The popular Moonlight Bowling runs from 9 p.m. until midnight on Fridays, and operational hours are as follows: Monday, 4 p.m. — 9 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, noon — 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon — midnight; and Sunday, noon — 10 p.m.
Also open for the past several months at Diamond Lanes South — located at 410 Carlton Dr. — has been Lane 25, the alley’s popular bar and grill.
“Our hope is to be at full capacity and regular operational procedure by the time our fall season opens,” Offill said. “We’re pretty much on the school-year schedule in terms of league play, and I am hopeful that we can return to normal operations by the start of the new school year.
“I sense a growing optimism. Kentucky has done a good job rolling out the (COVID-19) vaccine, and all the vaccinations have helped — the more people get vaccinated, the more comfortable people seem to be in a social setting like bowling.”
Midtown, which also features league play, is open with reduced hours. Located at 1901‘ Triplett St., Midtown is available for open play Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. League play is Monday and Thursday.
Midtown is also at 60% capacity and there is a mask mandate.
Meanwhile, the Bowlodrome — located at 600 E. 14th St. — is open from 7 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. The establishment’s accompanying bar, Club 300, is open from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
The Bowlodrome is also at 60% capacity and masks are required.