MISSOULA — Phase 2 officially began Monday in Montana, and for many that means more restrictions lifted, and that includes the bowling community. And of course, at Westside Lanes, their doors opened at 9 a.m., and they said at 9 a.m. people were ready to get going.
“People are so happy to be back, and the phones have been ringing, are you really open today? Can we come bowling? Any person who has walked in the door has been ecstatic to start bowling," Westside Lane owner Robyn Barker said.
If you don’t believe Barker, ask young Stella Staggs. She is a part of the Missoula Tae Kwon Do Academy summer camp, and she and her friends were having a blast.
“It’s been fun because I get to hang with my family and friends," Staggs said. "I’m a little rusty, but it’s really fun.”
Camp leader and Missoula Tae Kwon Do Academy owner, Jake Parker, says it’s more than just about the bowling, it’s about getting back to a more familiar frame of mind.
“I think we’re all feeling the same thing," Parker said. "Bowling isn’t just something that’s available and an activity that we enjoy doing. I think what we’re also starting to understand is that it’s good for our mental health to be doing these things that we normally just like to do.”
Barker says these last 10 weeks of lost revenue has not been easy, but it has given them the opportunity to assess and implement a new way of doing things to keep their customers safe as they head back to the lanes.
“We’re cleaning constantly, we’re sanitizing, we’re lane distancing, we have a special cleaning system for their rental shoes and their bowling balls," Barker said. "We even have something on order called bowling buddies. They are a throw away shoe.”
The staff at Westside Lanes say bowling is typically a little slower during the summertime, but they believe with folks wanting to get out and enjoy activities, and maybe staying closer to home, they think their summer will be a good one.