While we’re waiting for the State Liquor Authority to post their guidance and update their Frequently Asked Questions, here are the Health Department’s Detailed Guidelines for Sports and Recreation which covers these activities:

https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/SportsAndRecreationMasterGuidance.pdf.

The new language in the guidance, on pages 8-9, explain the rules for these activities:

For bowling centers and alleys – and, effective March 5, 2021, pool and billiard halls, and establishments that provide both recreational activities (e.g., darts, toss/bowl/shuffle games, racket games, axe throwing, etc.) and food and beverage service for patrons – Responsible Parties must follow these additional public health and safety measures:

  • Restrict facility capacity to no more than 50% of the maximum occupancy for a particular area as set by the certificate of occupancy, inclusive of employees and patrons/players; provided, however, that establishments in New York City may be restricted to a lower capacity based on indoor dining guidance, which is limited to 35%, effective February 26, 2021;
  • Require face coverings at all times for patrons/players, unless they are seated and actively consuming food or beverage;
  • Strictly enforce social distancing of at least six feet between parties of patrons/players, including during play by closing adjacent bowling lanes, pool/billiard tables, and boards/games, or enacting appropriate physical barriers between lanes, tables, and boards/games;
  • Ensure patrons/players interact only with their party at their assigned lane, table, or board/game (i.e., no comingling of parties);
  • Rigorously clean and disinfect any rented or shared equipment (e.g., bowling balls, bowling shoes, pool/billiard cues, pool/billiard racks, or throwing, tossing, or other game objects) between each patron’s/player’s or party’s use;
  • Limit the number of patrons/players to any event at the facility to no more than the current social gathering restrictions that are in effect for the region as a part of the State’s phased reopening (i.e., 50 or fewer people, as of February 23, 2021); and
  • Adhere to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Food Services during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” and all other applicable state-issued guidance (e.g., State Liquor Authority) for food and beverage service on the premises of the facility.

Further, Responsible Parties of bowling centers and alleys, pool and billiard halls, and establishments that provide both recreational activities (e.g., darts, toss/bowl/shuffle games, racket games, axe throwing, etc.) and food and beverage service for patrons may consider these additional public health and safety measures:

  • Encourage patron/player visits be made in advance by reservation only, where practicable;
  • Consider measures to reduce interpersonal contact and congregation, such as “blocking off” operating times to allow for enhanced cleaning and disinfection; assigning patrons/players seating and requiring that individuals not actively participating in game (e.g., bowling, playing pool, throwing, tossing, etc.) remain seated, unless they are arriving, departing, ordering or receiving food or beverage, or going to the restroom; implementing “sign-up” policies, so patrons/players only play during their allotted time; and/or offering “equipment valets” where employees retrieve equipment for patrons/players (e.g., employees retrieve bowling balls from rack for use);
  • Post signage and issue audio reminders for patrons/players to clean and disinfect equipment before and after use;
  • Impose reasonable limits on rentals or use of facility owned equipment (e.g., a single individual may only use one bowling ball, pool cue, or set of throwing or tossing objects for the duration of the patron’s/player’s play); and/or
  • Encourage patrons/players to bring and use their own equipment (e.g., bowling balls, pool cue).