Every bowling center has faced challenges in reopening, but few have been more harrowing than those experienced by the staff at Warrior Lanes in Waukee, Iowa.

Because it has a mostly teenage staff that had not yet had the opportunity to receive COVID-19 vaccines, the center maintained its mask policy even after the Centers for Disease Control had relaxed its mask recommendations.

That did not go over well with a handful of customers — mostly newcomers to the center — that verbally abused the staff, vandalized the center’s game room, threw a pitcher of beer against the center’s exterior wall, and even hurled rental shoes at staff members.

The center’s owners said they had hoped to maintain the mask requirement through the Memorial Day weekend, but ultimately decided to lift it early.

“The more we would remind people, the angrier they would get,” co-owner Kristy Morse told the Des Moines Register. “So we did give in to the bullies, which I’m getting backlash for now as well. You can’t win no matter which way you go.”

In the aftermath of the various incidents, Warrior Lanes designated certain hours exclusively for masked customers and other hours for all patrons, masked or not.

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