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Bowling alleys cry foul over Pritzker’s 50-person handicap

This Dec. 25, 2018, photo shows bowling shoes at the Back Bowl bowling alley in Eagle, Colo.

(The Center Square) – Illinois’ bowling alleys are the latest to cry foul over Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s rules that have left the industry handicapped.

The Illinois State Bowling Proprietors Association, consisting of more than 180 bowling alleys across the state, filed suit in Lee County, says Gov. J.B. Pritzker can’t unilaterally close businesses or restrict them after his original 30-day emergency declaration.

“We can have plenty of people in the centers safely and they’ll be socially distanced,” said Bill Brennan, the president of the ISBPA. “Fifty people in each of those buildings looks drastically different. The eighty-four lane Stardust in Addison, for instance. If you put fifty people in there, you wouldn’t find them for a week.”

The bowling industry, Brennan said, has a long history of sanitizing the equipment and areas of the lanes where people bowl. The association said in the suit that they’ve already spent more than $40,000 on protective equipment and training for their member alleys.

Pritzker was asked about the suit on Tuesday.

“We’re trying to measure what things are less dangerous, that we can allow more capacity for and what things are more dangerous,” he said. “There’s nothing political about a focus on one industry or another. It’s just all about, ‘Can we maintain safety and health guidance in these kinds of settings?’”

The civil action is in Lee County because the Plum Hollow Family Center in Dixon is a party to the suit.

Pritzker is facing several legal challenges to his executive authority, most notably a high-profile suit in Clay County brought by state Rep. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia.

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