On pins and needles: Napa bowling alley says county moved to orange tier in the nick of time

Wayne Freedman Image
ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Saturday, October 24, 2020
Napa bowling alley barely survives 7-month shutdown
As Napa County moves to a less restrictive tier of reopening, one bowling alley is counting their lucky pins. They tell ABC7 News they didn't know if they'd survive the coronavirus lockdown.

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- This week, Napa County improved from one tier of California's reopening plan to another.

The news hit Napa Bowl with a cacophony of crashing pins. Many pins, actually.

"I love to hear that sound. It's been a long time," said Dan Sousa.

RELATED: Napa wineries reopen indoor tasting rooms as county hits orange tier

He cannot talk about the history of Napa Lanes without also mentioning his parents and the family's many decades of ownership. Their seven-month closure because of COVID-19 will only add to the legacy.

"It's a miracle we survived," Sousa said. "Could not have gone much longer."

As Napa County transitions from red, substantial risk, to orange and moderate, Napa's bowling alley was finally able to reopen Wednesday. The day before, staffers returned to give the place a run-through.

"So, the lanes are great and I am rusty," said JC Surratt, a die-hard bowler who doubles as custodian.

WATCH: Eating out during COVID-19 pandemic: A first-hand look at the new restaurant reality in Napa County

The changes stare you in the face as you open the front door.

Napa County is allowing 25-percent capacity, which, "Twenty-five percent is better than no percent," says Dan.

For the bowling alley bar, it means attracting customers, again, along with the restaurant operated by Alex Soto.

"I spent seven months in panic mode," Alex said. "We went through our savings. We're very happy."

Beyond the bowling alley opening, going to orange status from red will impact wineries.

RELATED: Napa art gallery reopens after threatening lawsuit amid COVID-19 pandemic

Now, they may admit customers to indoor tasting rooms. That also applies to tasting rooms in the city.

Adam Housley has been serving customers outside for months. Now, they can finally come up to the bar, for more than just to pay their tabs.

"I just don't think the rules make sense," Adam said. "Why can I be open when another business cannot?"

As Napa turns orange, restaurants may expand indoor service form 25% to 50%. In practical terms, Sean O'Toole at Torc on Main Street questions how much difference it will make.

He says 50% is, "Not sustainable. I would like to trust government. At this point, looking back 20/20, I don't know what is right."

For now, in an orange Napa County, they will need to settle for what is better.

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