Strict new guidelines require bowlers to wear masks

Over the last two months, Forte Bowl at Kovan has been hit hard financially as the bowling centre had to shut due to the measures put in place during the circuit breaker period to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Centre manager Yap Kok Wee told the Straits Times that it had to continue paying a five-figure sum in rental even though the 20-lane facility was not able to operate.

The 45-year-old said: “It is very difficult as we are digging into our reserves.

“Our staff have been on no-pay leave and there is still expenditure as we have to maintain the facilities as well as the temperature and the humidity within the building itself.”

While thankful that sports facilities will be allowed to open from today, he is adopting a more cautious approach and the centre will be cutting its normal 10am to 1am operating hours to noon to 11pm on weekdays and 10am to 11pm on weekends.

This is because his customers are mainly senior citizens, who are more vulnerable to Covid-19 and have been encouraged by the Government to stay at home.

Training programmes for students are also on hold as co-curricular activities have not been reinstated yet.

Forte Bowl and other commercial bowling centres will also have to follow the guidelines issued by the Singapore Bowling Federation yesterday.

The guidelines state that all bowlers, casual or professional, must wear a mask while playing the sport.

All shoes and house balls will be issued and disinfected after use, and bowlers must follow strict lane allocations to maintain 3m safe distancing between groups and no mingling across lanes is allowed.

While Yap is supportive of these measures, he said: “With the buffer lanes, I can only have 50 per cent of the lanes available at one time”.

National bowler New Hui Fen said that wearing a mask while bowling would be uncomfortable “but health and safety comes first”.

“Being comfortable with wearing a mask during training will definitely take some time to adapt to.

“I don’t know how long this new norm is going to last but I am glad that we are able to get back on the lanes.”

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