Oregon allows bowling alleys, skating rinks to open with restrictions

By Rob Manning (OPB)
Oct. 23, 2020 1:48 p.m.

The Oregon Health Authority says it’s OK to resume bowling and roller skating in the handful of counties where that hadn’t been allowed previously. New rules issued Thursday allow up to 50 people at bowling alleys and skating rinks in “Phase One” counties, which includes the metro-area counties of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington, and Malheur County in southeast Oregon.

The businesses will have to abide by a number of restrictions, which OHA laid out in a five-page order.

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The new rules come after Oregon COVID-19 cases spiked in early October, breaking records from earlier in the pandemic. Cases have leveled off in the last week or so, but public health officials remain concerned about the potential for spread as Oregonians are likely to spend more time indoors over the upcoming winter months. At the same time, officials including Gov. Kate Brown, are interested in resuming certain activities, including the resumption of in-person school.

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While the order allows up to 50 people, either outdoors or indoors, an individual bowling alley or skating arena has to maintain limits based on its size and space.

New rules issued by Oregon allow up to 50 people at bowling alleys and skating rinks in “Phase One” counties.

New rules issued by Oregon allow up to 50 people at bowling alleys and skating rinks in “Phase One” counties.

Jenny Kane / AP

“Determine maximum occupancy of each indoor and outdoor area to maintain the requirement of at least six (6) feet of physical distance between parties, and limit number of individuals on the premises accordingly," the order said.

The order allows groups of ten to qualify as a “single party,” meaning those individuals don’t have to maintain six feet of separation from each other. But bowling alleys, for instance, can’t count the lanes themselves in their calculations of usable space for calculating capacity.

Staff and customers will be required to wear face coverings, and the order requires businesses to “limit bowling times/skate times to scheduled appointments.”

Bowling and skating operators will have to collect customer information, to help authorities conduct contact tracing, in case there’s a positive coronavirus case.

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