Since the COVID-19 pandemic led Bobbie Long to spend more time at home, she has kept busy working on puzzles, crocheting, reading, cooking and doing housework.

But the Victoria resident has missed one of her favorite activities – bowling.

Long, 76, first began bowling in 2006 and loved it from the start. She now participates in a women’s league and an “Over the Hill” league at Century Lanes. Both leagues were scheduled to go into June, but ended early because of the pandemic.

When Long heard the news that bowling alleys soon would reopen to the public, she said she was excited.

“Bowling is good for people young and old,” she said. “It’s good exercise, you get to meet a lot of people and it’s just a great activity. I’m really looking forward to going back.”

Starting Friday, Texas bowling alleys can reopen at 25% capacity in line with an executive order signed May 18 by Gov. Greg Abbott. Like many other businesses, bowling alleys have been closed to prevent spread of the virus.

When reopening, bowling alleys must ensure at least 6 feet of social distancing between operating lanes, according to Abbott’s order. Video arcades within the businesses must remain closed.

After the announcement, area bowling lane operators have been busy preparing to reopen. Jenny Moore, who owns Raven’s at the Woodlawn with her husband, Jeff, said they are glad they can soon say “yes” again to customers that are looking to bowl.

“On Monday alone, I had four different people calling and asking when we’ll be open so they can bowl again,” Moore said. “We’re anxious to be open at full scale like we were before.”

The restaurant side of Raven’s at the Woodlawn has been able to continue offering takeout and delivery during the pandemic, Moore said. But the business has lost significant revenue during the past few months after it had to close down its bowling operations. Aside from people dropping in to bowl for fun, all end-of-the-year parties and events that had been scheduled at the bowling alley were canceled, she said.

“Without any income coming in on the bowling side, we’ve been depending on the restaurant, and that’s barely kept afloat,” she said.

But holding on to hope that bowling alleys would be able to open up again soon, Moore said she and her husband have worked to keep the bowling area ready. The lanes at Raven’s at the Woodlawn are old, she said, so they require consistent use or issues will arise.

“We’ve had to throw the balls down the lanes to keep them moving even while it’s been closed,” she said. “It’s been a little funny bowling ourselves so the system keeps moving during these few months.”

Century Lanes also plans to reopen Friday, according to the business’ website. When reopening, all bowling alleys are asked to follow recommendations from the governor’s task force, which include disinfecting all equipment, including bowling balls, shoes and other rental equipment before and after customer use.

Long won’t be participating in summer bowling leagues this year, she said, but is already looking forward to starting up with her leagues again in the fall.

“Until then, once the lanes are back open, I’ll be out there practicing,” she said.

Victoria County officials reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, keeping the county’s total at 157. Of those, 132 have recovered. Seven residents’ deaths have been connected to the disease.

Throughout the Crossroads, Jackson and Wharton counties reported new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

COVID-19 cases by county

County Total Recoveries Deaths
Calhoun 554 504 4
Goliad 146 101 3
DeWitt 688 559 30
Jackson 413 350 4
Lavaca 644 613 6
Refugio 235 164 4
Victoria 3,565 2,477 55
Matagorda 770 378 27
Wharton 896 352 18
9-County total 7,911 5,498 151
•Editor’s note: These counts are updated daily. Total case counts include confirmed, pending investigation and probable cases reported by DSHS.

The other counties, Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Lavaca, Matagorda and Refugio, did not report new cases Wednesday.

Jackson County

One new case of COVID-19 was reported in Jackson County on Wednesday.

The new case brings the county’s total to 16, according to a release from the Jackson County Hospital District. The patient is isolating at home.

“Although this new case is not great news, we do feel the transmission of COVID-19 in Jackson County and the surrounding counties has slowed significantly,” said Bill Jones, Jackson County Hospital District CEO in the release. “As we get back to our normal routines, we are asking that everyone continue to take precautions and follow CDC guidelines.”

Of the county’s 16 cases, 14 have recovered and one resident has died.

Wharton County

One new positive case of COVID-19 was reported in Wharton County Wednesday by the Wharton County Office of Emergency Management.

Via a news release posted to its Facebook page, the office also announced it had no new recoveries to report. The total who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the county is 44, 33 of whom have recovered.

The new positive case is a woman age 50 to 60 who lives in the Wharton area.

Morgan O'Hanlon is the business and agriculture reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6328, mohanlon@vicad.com or on Twitter @mcohanlon.

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