ST. CHARLES – With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surging at an alarming rate across the state, St. Charles Bowl manager Toni McGarry said she understands why Gov. JB Pritzker has ordered the temporary closing of bowling alleys and casinos starting Friday along with implementing other restrictions.

"At the same time, it still hurts," she said. "We're laying off our staff right before the holidays."

The West Suburban region (DuPage and Kane counties) has seen eight days of positivity increases and four days of hospital admission increases. Currently, 23% of medical/surgical beds are available and 33% of ICU beds.

McGarry noted the family-owned bowling alley has been following the state's guidelines, including requiring face masks for both bowlers and staff members, sanitizing the bowling balls and lanes and not allowing more than six bowlers in one area.

The bowling alley has only been open since August after being forced to close earlier this year during the first wave of the pandemic.

"We were able to reopen in June, but because it's a slow month in the bowling industry, we waited until August," McGarry said.

Along those at the St. Charles Bowl on Wednesday was Jeff Engvall, who is president of the St. Charles Fraternal Men's League. The league plays at St. Charles Bowl on Wednesday nights.

Regarding the COVID-19 restrictions, Engvall said people should be able to make their own choices.

"As Americans, we have the right to choose what's best for us," he said. "I understand that people are getting sick and stuff like that. The sick people should quarantine. But the people who are healthy should go about their lives. Don't shut down bars and restaurants and places like this. I think that's only hurting people more than the virus is."

The Pingree Grove resident said he appreciated the efforts of St. Charles Bowl employees to try and keep customers safe.

"They're trying to do their best to keep us safe," he said.

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