CORONAVIRUS

Bowling 'felt like normal' in uncertain times, but alleys in Iowa are closing for now

May City Bowl owners planning on doing maintenance work while shut down due to coronavirus

May City Bowl in Cedar Rapids, like many businesses, is shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Justin Webster/The Gaze
May City Bowl in Cedar Rapids, like many businesses, is shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Justin Webster/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Barely a month ago, Tom and Elizabeth Trcka were celebrating 25 years as owners of May City Bowl.

Now the doors are closed to the public. That came Tuesday after the state of Iowa mandated a shutdown expected to last at least two weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We fall under restaurants, bars and recreational facilities,” Tom Trcka said, “which are all closed. We could do carry out, but we don’t do much of that and aren’t really set up for it.”

The May City team had discussed options on Sunday and decided to close Tuesday.

“We follow national, state, county and local news to see what we need to do,” Tom said. “We had to evaluate if we were going to be open or not. We still had leagues, but we let people know that they would not be penalized if they did not want to come.”

The distraction of bowling had raised the spirits of many who saw an impending shutdown on the horizon.

“It felt like normal,” Elizabeth Trcka said, “but I think many of us knew it was the last night for a while.”

“It was fun and I think it was a release for everybody,” Tom Trcka said. “It was a good night. Inside I was a bit nervous, because I knew we were supposed to be careful with groups that big. We talked about that last night. If we allow people to come in, they will and that’s why we had to make a decision.”

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The Trckas said they plan on practicing social distancing with their employees while trying to keep the full-time staffers busy with projects that often have to wait until summer.

“We’re usually a little slower in the summer and that’s when we do a lot of the maintenance and catch-up stuff,” Tom Trcka said. “Over the next two weeks we’ll plan on doing some of that.”

Tom hopes to install some new bumpers, although now he’s not sure when they will arrive.

The couple also plans on doing some “deep cleaning” and being “really cautious” moving forward.

“I know for sure that I will always keep a readily available supply of hand sanitizer and things like that,” Tom Trcka said. “I never thought about it before, although we had some sitting around. I’ll have a lot more of it in-stock without going crazy.”

When the doors are allowed to reopen to the public, the Trckas are confident many local businesses will hit the ground running.

“We’ll be here and we’ll be ready and better and stronger than ever,” Tom said. “Everybody will be and hopefully everyone will want to get out of the house again.”

Comments: justin.webster@thegazette.com

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