‘Let us bowl, Boris’: Bosses urge the government to reopen ten pin bowling alleys

PUBLISHED: 18:05 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 18:50 10 July 2020

Robert Bradley, centre manager, Castle Quarter. Pic: Archant

Robert Bradley, centre manager, Castle Quarter. Pic: Archant


The boss of Norwich’s Castle Quarter joined a growing numbr of firms callng for ten pin bowling alleys to be reopened.

Hollywood Bowl. Pic: ArchantHollywood Bowl. Pic: Archant

Mr Bradley, centre manager, was speaking as the government gave gyms and beauty salons the green light to open their doors again but not bowling alleys, nightclubs and casinos. There’s growing pressure with a petition from the National Bowling Association and Hollywood Bowl. This firm, with 1,900 employees and 60 centres across the UK including one in Norwich Riverside, is also urging the government to let them open again.

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Superbowl UK opened in Castle Quarter but now is closed until the government gives the green light. Pic: ArchantSuperbowl UK opened in Castle Quarter but now is closed until the government gives the green light. Pic: Archant

Another large ten pin firm, Superbowl UK opened late last year in Castle Quarter and is also keen to reopen. Mr Bradley said: “It is disappointing that bowling alleys are not yet able to open.

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“Superbowl UK in Castle Quarter has been putting all necessary measures in place to be ready for reopening and for people to use all the equipment safely. This includes pre-booking, social distancing and sanitisation measures, so they’re ready for customers.

“With so many other venues now given the green light to open up, we do urge the government to include bowling alleys sooner rather than later.”

Concerns over safety to do with sharing the use of bowling balls and also footwear has caused the government to keep ten pin bowling alleys shut.

More than 8,000 people, many currently on furlough, work in the ten pin bowling industry. Hollywood Bowl, together with the Ten Pin Bowling Proprietors Association (TBPA), UK Hospitality and other bowling business owners, are urging the government to reconsider.

Stephen Burns, chief executive at Hollywood Bowl Group, said: “Ten-pin bowling is a sector that is ready to operate in a Covid secure manner. We have worked incredibly hard to ensure we are adhering to the operational protocols around social distancing policies, capacity management and sanitisation and are more than ready to welcome back friends and families.”

In 2019, the industry’s value to the UK economy was £310 million. Ten pin bowling centres are often anchor tenants in larger leisure and retail parks, meaning they also boost other businesses such as nearby shops and casual dining restaurants.

Hollywood Bowl states its centres, which average around 29,000 sqft, are big enough to allow social distancing and the balls are made of low-risk material, being non-porous and easy to sanitise between games.

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