London bowling alley to close permanently due to COVID-19
Written by Nalini Deonarine on August 8, 2020
Many businesses in the city have had to close their doors, even as Ontario enters Stage Three of the reopening plan. These include restaurants, clothing stores, independent or chain retailers, family-owned businesses, recreation facilities, and many more. Here in London, Bowlerama Royale is the most recent of businesses to have to shut down–permanently.
The bowling establishment, located on Dundas Street in the city’s East end, opened in 1992. It has been owned and operated by Brenda Dottermann and her husband Marc Decman for the last five years. The strong business and local support has allowed the couple to give the alley some renovations over the years. Now however, keeping their establishment open is next to impossible with no revenue.
Bowlerama had the opportunity to reopen in July when the limit of people allowed indoors was increased to fifty. The owners believed this still wouldn’t allow them to make up for months of lost business though. In an interview with The London Free Press, Dottermann said:
“People are afraid to come in. They are fearful of touching something and catching something.”
It doesn’t help that bowling season doesn’t start until September and goes until March or April, with summer being generally slower for the industry. Dottermann added in the interview that:
“If it had all happened two months later, we may have survived.”
The bowling alley has twenty-four tenpin lanes, themed bowling nights, hosted leagues and tournaments for various age groups, and was a go-to spot for corporate and birthday events. Bowlerama also offered training and coaching lessons for bowling, and recently added axe throwing and a golf simulator. Soon, the establishment will downsize to just a pro shop.
Bowling alleys aren’t the only entertainment spaces that are struggling with the fifty person limit. Movie theatres across the country worry that the allowance is too low to cover the costs of operation. Cinema chains like Landmark and Cineplex have been in talks with the provincial government to find a way to increase the number of people allowed in their theatres.
A spokesperson from Landmark pointed out that theatres control showtimes, seating layouts, and auditorium capacity, and could theoretically hold more than fifty guests at a time while still maintaining physical distancing.
At the end of the day, local bowling enthusiasts will have to find another alley to indulge themselves. Three other popular locations for bowling in London are Fleetway, Palasad Soicalbowl, and Palasad South.