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Broward Bowling Alley 'Spares' No Safety Measure In Reopening During COVID-19

Rene Pistone and her husband watch Kyle Willis bowl at SpareZ in Davie.
Rene Pistone and her husband watch Kyle Willis bowl at SpareZ in Davie.

Broward County bowling alleys opened for business today. County Administrator Bertha Henry signed  Emergency Order 20-15 which allows some indoor amusement facilities to reopen at 50 percent capacity while following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines.

The CDC’s standard guidelines include wearing facial masks, maintaining social distancing, and sanitizing shared items and spaces.

You turn to WLRN for reporting you can trust and stories that move our South Florida community forward. Your support makes it possible. Please donate now. Thank you.Alexander Brewer is the operations manager at SpareZ bowling center in Davie. He says he and his staff are following every step to make sure their guests are bowling in a safe and sanitary environment.

For instance, bowlers can only use 32 out of the 64 lanes at SpareZ. Groups must be 10 people or less, and each group is separated by an empty lane. Employees will clean seating areas and tables after groups leave, but they won’t have to manually clean used bowling balls. Brewer says they have an alternative way of sanitizing.

“We have bowling ball machines, we have two of them, that we actually run the bowling ball through for two minutes which cleans the ball completely, inside and out. And what I mean by inside is the finger holes,” Brewer said.

Alexander Brewer, the operations manager at SpareZ, uses a machine that thoroughly cleans bowling balls.
Credit Amber Amortegui / WLRN
Alexander Brewer, the operations manager at SpareZ, uses a machine that thoroughly cleans bowling balls.

He also mentioned that SpareZ bought brand-new bowling shoes in preparation for reopening. Staff members will sanitize each pair before and after a customer wears them.As for avid bowlers like Kyle Willis, they’re just happy to return to the game they love.

“It felt kind of funny, but I did have a 193 and I’m doing pretty good,” Willis said. “First game in three or four months so I’m happy with that. Yeah, that’s pretty good.”

He’s played in bowling leagues at SpareZ since 1989. Rene Pistone and her husband, Frank, play on Willis’ team in one of the senior leagues. Pistone is glad to resume practicing with her fellow bowlers, but she’s really missed the social aspects of the sport.

“We always laugh, we always have jokes. I mean, even if we bowl bad or good it doesn’t matter because we get to see the people we like,” Pistone said.

Bowlers keep their distance at SpareZ in Davie.
Credit Amber Amortegui / WLRN
Bowlers keep their distance at SpareZ in Davie.

Willis and Pistone hope their leagues can start in the fall.“We have a couple of leagues that will be bowling through the summertime, but we haven’t canceled any leagues, we haven’t canceled any events or anything like that,” Brewer said.

SpareZ is still hosting birthday parties and other small gatherings. Now that reservations are for no more than 10 people at a time, Brewer says groups will have more space to bowl. 

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