Operators of places for indoor activity impacted by the governor’s COVID-19 regulations say their operations are essential for the physical and mental well being of the public.
Craig Rhodes, a managing partner for Kingpin Lanes in Springfield, said they were closed during the lockdown this spring, allowed to open for a few months and then closed down again.
“A, we’re in the league bowling season which is the best season for us and going into the holidays where we pick up quite a bit of extra income and foot traffic for the holidays which is not just difficult, but difficult timing as well,” Rhodes said.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker last Monday imposed prohibitions on indoor service at bars and restaurants statewide, and capacity limits on retail operations. Indoor recreation, like bowling, is prohibited.
Rhodes said he’ll be keeping a close eye on the numbers, and if there aren’t declines from all the closures, there need to be some explanations.
“If there’s no change and everyone’s closed, obviously there’s something else if afoot,” he said. “We would certainly demand to have some answers based on those numbers.”
Rhodes said while some don’t consider bowling essential, it is to his employees and to his clientele’s physical and mental well being.
For gyms, there can’t be any group exercises and locker rooms are closed under the governor’s rules. In Springfield, FitBodies owner Chris Schmulbach said he’s gone from group classes to open gym. He also said he doesn’t recommend masks.
“I can’t force them to wear masks, so I guess I’ll take the heat and deal with it from there and see what happens,” Schmulbach said.
Corynne Cooper, the general manager of a fitness facility in Chicago, will be following the guidelines to the letter.
“If [Pritzker] says masks, it is masks,” Cooper said. “If it’s not steam rooms and saunas, it’s no steam rooms and saunas. If it’s no locker rooms, it’s not locker rooms. We’re not trying to cut any corners.”
Both said keeping their facilities open is crucial to the physical and mental health of their clients.