Cyber Report #1115

E-dition No. 1,115 • Friday, June 26, 2020

Editor: Bob Johnson (bjibob@aol.com)

Illinois Proprietors Face Unusual Reopening Restrictions

Bowling center owners in Illinois are now being allowed to reopen by Governor J.B. Pritzker, but with perhaps the most unusual limitation yet seen in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Centers may open Friday at 9 a.m., but all will be limited to no more than 50 people at a time for bowling.

The same limitation applies to an eight-lane center as to a 60-lane center. Thus, an eight-laner could be running at well above normal lane capacity, while a 60-laner would be more like an echo chamber.

Restaurants are allowed to fully reopen inside dining with 6-ft. spacing,” noted Henry Barber, proprietor of Hillside Lanes in Hillside, Ill. “Youth and recreational sports are allowed 50% occupancy for participants, with an additional 20% capacity for spectators. Health clubs can have 50% occupancy with 6-ft. spacing. All we want is the same treatment.”

As a result of the governor’s mandate, numerous proprietors are “doing the math” in order to determine whether reopening would be worthwhile at this point.

In an online post, Barber provided this link to the state’s elected officials page: https://www.illinoispolicy.org/maps/

Interested parties can follow the link to find their representatives and express their feelings about the latest phase of reopening in Illinois.

Rest assured, we have been working to make changes at all three of our centers to protect our staff and patrons,” Barber added. “When you return, I am sure you will see the changes — including, protective shielding, hand sanitizer stations, touch-less hand dryers and bathroom fixtures, social-distancing signage, lane and ball sanitizing and more.

We look forward to seeing everyone, and hope everyone will do their part to help keep everyone safe.”

COVID-19 Forces Cancellation of Military Championships

Yet another major bowling tournament has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its lingering effects on travel and business capacity.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Brad Edelman, President of High Roller Inc., said, “I am extremely saddened and frustrated to announce that we are cancelling the 2020 August Military Team Classic… This painful decision didn’t come without hours and hours and days and days of analyzing, investigating, and soul searching before coming to our very regrettable decision.”

Edelman said that decision was based on these criteria:

* Dealing with a worst-case scenario of contestants coming from around the country, visiting many local attractions in Las Vegas, testing positive for COVID-19 when they return home, and then having the South Point Bowling Plaza running the risk of being closed by local officials.

* South Point management doubts the tournament would receive approval from the state to use all available lanes.

* Hundreds of teams had already cancelled. Many more were expected.

* Hundreds of individuals also had cancelled, leaving their teams incomplete.

* Hundreds of other contestants were waiting to see what direction the pandemic takes. Many said they would not decide until the first week of August. (Contestants, staff, the host venue and sponsors would need more notice about cancelling than that time frame would allow.)

* The negative prospect of the future of COVID-19 for Las Vegas and the country, as reported by health organizations nationwide.

* An increase of COVID-19 positive cases, as reported by many states (some setting new records).

* An increase in the number of states implementing enhanced face-covering regulations.

* Financial and unemployment statistics nationwide, as many of the cancellations were due to financial reasons.

* Only contestants would be allowed in the Plaza — no spectators. One squad would have to vacate the Plaza before the next could begin.

An important personal factor is knowing that the tournament environment would not be as casual and friendly as we experience each year,” Edelman said. “We would be dealing with security guards constantly moving crowds, and long lines as social distancing would be enforced. Contestants would be shown where and when they could be present. Although security would just be doing their job, that is not the environment we want for our event.”

Added Edelman: “Everyone has an opinion on these sensitive topics, but this is what has led us to the decision.”

Tourney to Combine String and Free-Fall Machines

QubicaAMF Worldwide has announced that it will present the QubicaAMF “Some Strings Attached” Invitational, the world’s first combination string and free-fall tournament, which will take place at HeadPinz Entertainment Center in Naples, Fla., on July 25.

The tournament will be bowled across 16 lanes, including eight equipped with EDGE String Pinspotters and eight equipped with free-fall machines. Entrants will bowl an equal number of qualifying games utilizing both types of machines, while the semifinals and stepladder finals will take place on the EDGE String lanes.

The event will be open to 48 bowlers by invitation only, with a $300 entry fee per bowler. Qualifying will consist of eight games, and the top 12 bowlers will advance to the next round of three games. A top-five stepladder finals on EDGE String pinspotters will determine the winner.

The first-place prize is a guaranteed $5,000, with an estimated prize fund of more than $15,000. QubicaAMF will offer an additional $5,000 to a bowler who shoots 300 in the semifinals or stepladder finals. Multiple 300 shooters will split the perfect-game bonus.

The event will be live-streamed and include coverage of all rounds of the competition.

The following day (Sunday, July 26), the “Some Strings Attached” Open will take place, utilizing the same format as Saturday’s event. This tournament will be open to all on a first-come, first-served basis with a maximum field of 48 bowlers and a $100 entry fee per bowler. The first-place prize is $1,500, with a total prize fund of more than $5,000.

I am extremely excited to host the world’s first combination string and free-fall tournament,” said Pat Ciniello, owner of the Bowland and HeadPinz Entertainment Center chain in southwest Florida and Chairman of the Board of QubicaAMF. “This is shaping up to be a fantastic event, and should prove to offer some outstanding competitive play. We are expecting a lot of big names on Saturday, including some of the men, women and senior pros.

We have EDGE String pinspotters installed in several centers here in southwest Florida,” Ciniello added. “I am looking forward to seeing this caliber of bowlers compete in this first-of-its-kind format.”

In light of the global pandemic, health and safety measures following state and federal guidelines will be in place during the tournaments. The number of spectators will be limited, on-site streaming will be in place so spectators can spread out and watch the event from various areas within the facility, and bowlers will be limited to three per lane to ensure social distancing during play.

The EDGE String pinspotter complies with all dimensional specifications controlled by the USBC for automatic pinspotting machines. In addition, its dark pit area hides the strings and highlights the pins and lively pin action.

Remembrance Party’ Planned in Tokyo for Mr. Nakano

A “Remembrance Party” for BPAA Hall of Fame member Keijiro Keijiro Nakano, who passed away on May 15, has been scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 29 at 1 p.m. at the “Heichinro” Chinese restaurant in Tokyo.

For anyone planning to attend, information on the restaurant’s location may be directed to Mr. Akira Nakano, c/o Eastern Sports, Ltd., 9F, Shinjuku-Tokio-Kaijo-Bldg. 2-11-15, Yoyogi, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo, Japan 151.

That address also may be used for sending “tributes” to Nakano-san. Allow plenty of time for tributes to be translated into Japanese.

We thank Don Hillman, a close friend of Nakano-san and another BPAA Hall of Famer, for sharing this information. The “Remembrance Party” had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Japan has begun to ease social-distancing restrictions in recent weeks.

Federal Reserve Reports Shortage of Coins

Bowling center owners who operate arcades equipped with games that accept coins rather than cards, and/or feature vending machines that accept coins, should know that the COVID‐19 pandemic has significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coins.

The AMOA passed along information from the Federal Reserve…

In the past few months, coin deposits from depository institutions to the Federal Reserve have declined significantly, and the U.S. Mint’s production of coins also decreased due to measures put in place to protect its employees. Federal Reserve coin orders from depository institutions have begun to increase as regions reopen, resulting in the Federal Reserve’s coin inventory being reduced to below-normal levels.

While the U.S. Mint is the issuing authority for coin, the Federal Reserve manages coin inventory and its distribution to depository institutions (including commercial banks, community banks, credit unions and thrifts) through Reserve Bank cash operations and off-site locations across the country operated by Federal Reserve vendors.

The Federal Reserve is working on several fronts to mitigate the effects of low coin inventories. This includes managing the allocation of existing Fed inventories, working with the Mint, as issuing authority, to minimize coin supply constraints and maximize coin production capacity, and encouraging depository institutions to order only the coin they need to meet near‐term customer demand.

Depository institutions also can help replenish inventories by removing barriers to consumer deposits of loose and rolled coins.

Although the Federal Reserve says it is confident that the coin inventory issues will resolve once the economy opens more broadly and the coin supply chain returns to normal circulation patterns, its recognizes that these measures alone may not be enough to resolve near‐term issues.

Consequently, effective June 15, Reserve Banks and Federal Reserve coin distribution locations began allocating coin inventories. To ensure a fair and equitable distribution of existing coin inventory to all depository institutions, the Federal Reserve Banks and their coin distribution locations began to allocate available supplies of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to depository institutions as a temporary measure.

The temporary coin allocation methodology is based on historical order volume by coin denomination and depository institution endpoint, and current U.S. Mint production levels. Order limits are unique by coin denomination and are the same across all Federal Reserve coin distribution locations. Limits will be reviewed and potentially revised based on national receipt levels, inventories and Mint production.

How to Effectively Protect Your Returning Workforce

The offices, warehouses, manufacturing plants and, yes, bowling centers that America’s workers have started to return to may look the same as they did months ago, but the feel inside will be largely different.

The coronavirus has changed the workplace environment as we had known it for the foreseeable future. Companies welcoming back employees to their facilities are subject to a duty of care that requires new protocols and rules necessary to protect the health of their workforce.

While there is no perfect plan, knowing the priorities and putting extra attention on detailed health measures are paramount for all employers according to Dr. Jonathan Spero, a physician and expert on pandemic preparedness and employee health, and the CEO of InHealth Physicians, which regularly supports some of the highest-profile corporate sales, incentive, and executive programs in the world, including the Olympic Games and soccer’s World Cup.

As employers begin creating a COVID back-to-work program for their organizations, it is clear that there is no proven roadmap,” Dr. Spero says. “We are in uncharted territory.”

It has to be all about health security, he says.

People are concerned when they get up in the morning that they are going to be exposed to COVID-19. The only way to solve it is to take a lesson out of the global public health playbook and establish proven health security strategies. This involves three foundational elements: the prevention of illness, the detection, and the response once you get the data to identify who’s ill or who has been infected in the past. Some people will get infected in the workplace, so the key is taking all the measures that can help keep the transmission rate way down.”

Dr. Spero offers these tips to employers for developing a return-to-work plan:

* Reconfigure high-contact areas. Dr. Spero says continued social distancing and wearing masks in the workplace remain top priorities as the pandemic continues. “Until further notice, office space needs to be designed so employees remain at least six feet from each other at all times,” he says. “There is no more mingling in groups, and people have to be spread out.”

* Daily temperature checks. “These are done before entry in the workplace,” Dr. Spero says. “Use no-contact, infrared thermometers. Taking employees’ temperatures is not bulletproof; people can be asymptomatic and still be infected. But fever is the most common symptom associated with COVID-19, so it makes sense to still check people’s temperatures. If they’re above normal, they’re sent home with a plan to refer the ill employee for follow-up medical evaluation and potentially COVID testing.”

* Consider PCR testing. As states reopen businesses, some large companies are testing employees for COVID-19 while trying to prevent outbreaks on the job. Medical professionals and employers say this testing, known as PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), can help reduce transmissions and workers’ fears. “For employers, it’s recommended that when doing a screening, you’re testing for those patients that are asymptomatic,” Dr. Spero says. “The idea around PCR testing is, because there’s an asymptomatic pool of employees that may be positive, you want to identify those folks and avoid them infecting others in the workplace.”

* Have a reporting and follow-up system. Dr. Spero says employees who test positive need to be enrolled in a return-to-work program. This involves quarantine protocols and work clearance guidelines on when the employee can return to work.

* Ramp up cleaning procedures. “There should be morning and evening routines of disinfecting all surfaces in the work area, including keyboards,” Dr. Spero says. “Frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, and avoiding touching your face all are very important as employees come back to the [workplace].”

Adds Dr. Spero: “Returning to a workplace does bring risks, and employers have a duty of care to mitigate these risks. It’s imperative employers build a plan that reduces the risk of COVID transmission.”

Ciniellos Buy Amusement Park, Will Add Duckpins

Pat and Lisa Ciniello have announced their company is buying Zoomers Amusement Park in Fort Myers, Fla. They are purchasing the property and all of its contents from Mike Barnes, who opened the park in 2012.

We had put our FAST TRAX concept on hold during the COVID-19 situation,” said Pat Ciniello. “So when I was made aware that the Zoomers complex was for sale, I thought it might be the perfect opportunity to pivot from our original FAST TRAX plan and resurrect the project at Zoomers. Now, we’ll turn this 18-acre property into the new FAST TRAX, complete with brand-new OTL Electric Go-Karts (replacing the old gas-powered karts), and other upgrades to the arcade, kitchen, outdoor bar and party areas. A new feature we’re definitely adding is a number of lanes of duckpin bowling.”

Zoomers, which has been closed since March, currently features two different outdoor go-kart tracks, mini-golf, 10 mechanical carnival-type rides, bumper boats and an indoor arcade with more than 80 games. Ciniello said there will be changes to the current set-up, but it’s too early to say exactly how the transformation will take place.

I already have my design team looking at ways to modify the current layout,” Ciniello said. “One thing that I really want to see is how we can create more shade and coverings over the outside spaces. It’s really hot out there during the summer months.”

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Ciniello said the closing should take place by mid-July. He expects to re-open as FAST TRAX in early December.

Business Briefs…

* Time Out magazine is reporting that Strike Bowling has reopened its properties in Australia. These include the Sydney Harbor-side location at King St Wharf, the Entertainment Quarter location in Moore Park, as well as the Chatswood and North Ryde locations.

* Another former AMF center has been rebranded in California. AMF Orchard Lanes in Chico, home to Chico State University, is now known as Bowlero Chico. The center closed last September for remodeling, reopened in March, but after just two weeks was shut down due to the pandemic. It now is operating with limited hours and enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols in place.

* The owner of KingPins in St. Peter, Minn., has been formally charged with setting his business on fire. According to KEYC, Dwight Lee Selders is now facing one count of first-degree arson and one count of second-degree arson. When authorities arrived on the scene back in February, the center was engulfed in flames. Selders said he accidentally ignited a rag while working on a pinsetter, but a subsequent investigation found several flammable chemicals and fluids near the machines. Selders is due in court on July 21.

* Eric and Carrie Boerner have reopened the former Breakaway Lanes & Rec in Huntinburg, Ind., under its new name: Legendary Lanes. “We’ve done a lot of cleaning and sanitizing. But the bowling alley looks the same,” Carrie Boerner said. “We need to make a little bit more money to do any add-ons and such.” During the center’s mandated closure due to the pandemic, former proprietors Don and Jane Jenkins retired. Discussions about the Boerners taking over already had been under way,

Other News You Can Use…

* Here’s the latest podcast schedule from the International Bowling Campus. All times shown are Eastern, and all shows are available on demand on all listed platforms.

 – Inside The OC: Mike Rose Jr., June 25 at 2 p.m. on BowlTV, USBC Facebook and BowlTV on YouTube.
– Throwback Thursday Match: Diana Zavjalova vs. Rocio Restrepo in the title match of the 2015 PWBA Minnesota Open, June 25 at 4 p.m. on BowlTV.
– The Gauntlet: Tennelle Milligan and John Janawicz, June 26 at 4 p.m. on BowlTV.

* The guest this week on Phantom Radio is BJI’s own Lyle Zikes. Topics include the PBA’s Strike Derby, the “Summer of the Soaker” and more. To listen in, go to: https://kegel.squarespace.com/phantomblog/2020/6/24/lyle-zikes-bowling-writer.

* CONTACT: Please send business news, event information, etc. to Bob Johnson at bjibob@aol.com. For breaking business news, visit bcmmag.com or bowlersjournal.com, “Like” Bowling Center Management and Bowlers Journal International on Facebook, and follow BJI on Twitter (Twitter.com/BowlersJournal). BJI Cyber Reports are now archived at bcmmag.com. Please remember that the Cyber Report is a B-to-B publication and not intended for consumers.

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