Eastleigh Bowling alley re-opening scrapped after rise in covid cases

Bowling alley boss says staff are 'devastated' by last minute govt u-turn and that there is 'no scientific evidence' that bowling poses more of a risk than other permitted activities.

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“Bring back bowling” says Eastleigh’s Hollywood Bowl

Eastleigh’s popular bowling alley will now not be opening tomorrow (Sat August 1) as planned after Boris Johnson announced that the government was extending lockdown restrictions on a number of social activities. This follows evidence that the number of coronavirus cases is once again rising in parts of England.

Hollywood Bowl in Eastleigh’s Swan Centre was all set to welcome back customers for the first time in months only to hear, that at the last minute, bowling alleys would not be permitted to re-open until August 15 at the earliest, in order to minimise the risk of spreading infection – although gyms and pubs would continue to stay open despite a rise in the number of new cases nationally.

In an unscheduled press conference held earlier today, the Prime Minister announced that the existing lockdown rules due to be lifted tomorrow will now be postponed – this will also impact on public gatherings including weddings and shows as well as bowling alleys.

The Chief Executive of the Hollywood Bowl group has slammed the ‘disappointing’ decision and insisted that the company had put measures in place to ensure customers would be safe and at minimal risk of transmission.

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Bowling boss Stephen Burns: “No scientific evidence”

In a statement emailed to Eastleigh News, Stephen Burns said:

“This is incredibly disappointing and unexpected.

There is absolutely no scientific evidence to suggest that bowling is less safe than other activities which have been allowed to reopen and remain open.

 We have taken every possible precaution to make sure our customers can socially distance in our spacious centres with extensive hygiene protocols in place.

To hear this news at the last minute is devastating for our team members and customers looking forward to returning.” 

The company had been running a social media campaigning to ‘bring back bowling’ – Hollywood Bowl run 60 sites in the UK employing 2,000 jobs nationwide, Eastleigh News understands around 30 people are employed at the Swan Centre alley.