IRMO, S.C. (WIS) - Two bowling alleys in Irmo have requested special permission from the Department of Commerce to reopen their businesses.
This comes as some tourist attractions across the state reopened Friday for the first time in more than two months. The governor’s reopening announcement Wednesday included places like arcades, zoos and museums, but it did not include bowling alleys.
Staff at Anchor Lanes in Irmo says when the governor did not announce bowling alleys in the group of businesses allowed to reopen, they were devastated.
“It’s been very disheartening and kind of like a blow when we see that the other venues are opening like us and do the things like us, and we have a space in our building, and we’re not close quarters," general manager Jane Thomas said.
Thursday morning, she reached out to Mayor Barry Walker and the Irmo Town Council for help.
Walker says he called the governor’s team, and Thomas filled out paperwork for business clarification from the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
“They had to file that paperwork, but they needed some help. They needed some outside political influence, and that’s what they pay me for, to be their advocate and their cheerleader, and that’s what I did,” Walker said. “I got on the phone with the governor. I got on the phone with the representatives here in Irmo, and I said we need to do something for these businesses.”
Thursday afternoon, Thomas received the email giving her permission to reopen.
Anchor Lanes requested that their bowling league play reopen. With the holiday weekend, they say they could have lost thousands of dollars without it.
“Our industry has been really misunderstood throughout the states, and people don’t really have an idea,” Thomas said. “We’re hoping that they now do, as we’ve tried to get them information.”
Anchor Lanes will wait until the governor announces bowling alleys across the state can reopen before they welcome the general public back, but they are hopeful that announcement will come soon.
Stars and Strikes, another bowling alley in Irmo, went through the same process but has not yet received permission to reopen bowling. However, they will be opening their arcade, bumper cars and restaurant on Tuesday.
The Department of Commerce says it has a team managing the business designation clarification process. Businesses must fill out an online form, and they say the response team will provide guidance within 24 hours.