Victory Lanes in Mooresville has become one of the latest businesses in North Carolina to reopen against Gov. Roy Cooper's executive order, which singles out bowling alleys, gyms, bars and other close-contact businesses as being too unsafe to operate under current coronavirus levels.
Owner Paul Kreins reopened the bowling alley on June 26 -- the same day that had been floated as a possible start date for Phase 3 in North Carolina. Cooper ultimately pushed that back, citing rising numbers of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
Kreins said opening is worth the risk because he's already lost $800,000 from the first three months of closures.
"I figured I could handle jail," he said, "and if the fine wasn't too large, I figured it would be better paying a fine than losing the revenue that we would lose."
He also said his staff is capable of following the same cleaning and social distancing guidelines that are required of restaurants and retailers. He says customers are provided with face masks if they don't have any and that bowling balls have been removed from the alley's floor and are cleaned and distributed on an individual basis. The bowling alley has also set out hand-sanitizing stations, and staff members clean high-touch surfaces regularly.
Since reopening, he said Mooresville police have informed him multiple times that he's violating the governor's order, though he's not yet received any formal citations.
Other businesses in North Carolina have similarly reopened against Cooper's executive order, including a number of gyms. They include the Sportscenter Athletic Club in Concord and Hive Fitness in Charlotte, among others.
Lawsuits have also been filed against the governor by groups representing bowling alleys and fitness centers.
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